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Game 9 Preview: Ottawa Senators @ Colorado Avalanche

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It’s Matt Duchene’s homecoming!

NHL: Colorado Avalanche at Ottawa Senators Per Haljestam-USA TODAY Sports

The Senators are setting off on their southwestern road trip, hitting up the Coyotes, the Golden Knights, and the... Avalanche? Anyway, that’s where the Sens are tonight. Guy Boucher told the media that Craig Anderson starts, Max McCormick and Cody Ceci are in, while Ben Harpur (injured) and Christian Wolanin (healthy scratch) will sit. Based on yesterday’s lines, here’s how I see this playing out:

Dzingel - Tierney - Stone
Boedker - Duchene - White
Formenton - Smith - Ryan
Paajarvi - Pyatt - McCormick

Chabot - DeMelo
Lajoie - Ceci
Wideman - Jaros

Anderson (starter)
Condon

Some thoughts:

  • It’s Matt Duchene’s return to Colorado. It’s rare to see a player play so many years for one franchise as a star and yet leave while still in his prime. In a way, it’s preparation for when Erik Karlsson returns to Ottawa in November. Though Duchene expects some boos tonight, because he at least directly asked for a trade.
  • It’s not a good sign that Boucher is so reluctant to play Mike Condon. He gave him a game early in the season against the Bruins, Condon allowed five goals on 29 shots, and he hasn’t seen a second of action since. Eventually the Sens will have another back-to-back where we might see him, but even this road trip sees the Sens with a day off between each game, so Craig Anderson could easily start every game.
  • Colin had a great piece this morning looking at the Sens’ early season luck. On the one hand, they have been lucky offensively, outperforming how they should be doing in terms of scoring goals. I wonder if that 4-1 loss to the Bruins, the first time all season they didn’t score at least three goals, is a sign a of things to come.
  • That being said, the Sens are in a weird place where players either have lots of points or none. So there’s offensive unsustainability (that’s not a word) on both sides.
  • Colin also looked at things defensively, and amazingly, the Sens have actually been good at keeping teams to the outside. So the Sens being outshot thus far isn’t as big a deal, because they’re winning the in-tight battle
  • What’s interesting is that Anderson is actually below starter average in terms of medium- and low-danger save percentage. So he’s actually underperforming his expected save percentage. Does this mean we can expect him to get even better as the season goes on, or is this the Sens giving their aging goaltender a chance to win them some games?

Here are stats, via NHL.com and NaturalStatTrick.com:

Team Stats

Category Ottawa Senators Vegas Golden Knights
Category Ottawa Senators Vegas Golden Knights
-- Value Rank Value Rank
Goals/GP 3.56 7th 2.10 30th
Goals Against/GP 3.89 28th 2.60 8th
Shots/GP 28.7 26th 33.3 8th
Shots Against/GP 36.2 30th 24.3 2nd
Powerplay % 24.1 13th 9.4 30th
Penalty Kill % 67.7 29th 81.5 11th
Corsi (5v5, Score & Venue Adjusted) 43.07 29th 58.80 2nd
Fenwick (5v5, SVA) 43.92 29th 57.37 3rd

Player Stats

Ottawa Senators New Jersey Devils
Ottawa Senators New Jersey Devils
-- Player # Player #
Goals Ryan Dzingel 5 Kyle Palmieri 9
Assists Thomas Chabot 14 Taylor Hall 12
Points Thomas Chabot 17 Kyle Palmieri 15
Shots Lajoie, Maxime 35 Taylor Hall 40
TOI/GP Thomas Chabot 22:34 Sami Vatanen 23:06