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Game 81 preview: New York Rangers @ Ottawa Senators

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We’re down to just two

NHL: Ottawa Senators at New York Rangers
Something we sadly won’t get to see this game
Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports

The Rangers come to town locked into their playoff position: they will face the Canadiens on the road in Game 1 of the playoffs. The Senators are assured of their playoff spot, but their seeding is anything but decided yet. That means the Sens will have lots to play for in this game, while the Rags may take the chance to rest some key players. That being said, Henrik Lundqvist is still their confirmed starter, so it won’t all be easy. Not much has been said about today’s game, so my guess is the lineup will be very similar to the one that won against the Bruins on Thursday:

Hoffman - Turris - Stone
Stålberg - Brassard - Burrows
Pyatt - Pageau - Wingels
MacArthur - Kelly - Dzingel

Phaneuf - Ceci
Borowiecki - Wideman
Claesson - Harpur

Anderson (starter)
Condon

Here are some thoughts on tonight’s game:

  • Erik Karlsson, Marc Methot, and Zack Smith all seem to be good to go come playoff time, they’re just resting while the games aren’t as important
  • Karlsson will finish as the points leader on this team for the fourth season in a row, illustrating both how great he’s and how much this team has been offence-by-committee since he’s been around
  • Sitting out also means Karlsson won’t catch Brent Burns in points, likely meaning EK finishes second in Norris voting for the second year in a row
  • The team goal-scoring race could go down to the wire, with Kyle Turris at 27 and Mike Hoffman at 25. Mark Stone is also at 22, and hasn’t scored a goal in 15 games (26 shots in that span) so he is due for some good luck
  • This will be Mika Zibanejad’s first game in Ottawa since he was traded. I’ve been happy to see him succeed in New York, just hopefully not this game
  • Will Chris Neil play? It could be his last chance to play before the home crowd now that he’s come off the IR. Personally I’d like to see Boucher do it.
  • Overall I’d say the first year of #TheSystem has been a success. May it burn bright into the playoffs

Here are some team and player stats. All stats via NHL.com except Corsi and Fenwick, from Natural Stat Trick:

Player Stats

Category Ottawa Player # NYR Player #
Category Ottawa Player # NYR Player #
Goals Kyle Turris 27 Chris Kreider 28
Assists Erik Karlsson 54 Mats Zuccarello 44
Points Erik Karlsson 71 Mats Zuccarello 59
Shots Mike Hoffman 219 Derek Stepan 206
Average Ice Time Erik Karlsson 26:50 Ryan McDonagh 24:23

Team Stats

Category Ottawa # Rank NYR # Rank
Category Ottawa # Rank NYR # Rank
Goals for 2.51 22nd 3.11 4th
Goals against 2.56 10th 2.64 13th
Score, venue adjusted Corsi % 48.18 23rd 48.19 22nd
Score, venue adjusted Fenwick % 48.34 24th 49.04 21st
Shots for 30.0 19th 29.9 20th
Shots against 30.3 16th 30.1 14th