The Senators have now lost two straight, have seen their goal differential drop to -3, and are about to face the high-powered Golden Knights in one of the toughest buildings to crack last year.
Well, the part about Ottawa is true, but Vegas has also been through their fare share of struggles to start the year, coming off of back-to-back losses. They have a 4-5-1 record through 10 games and just 22 goals scored.
Zack Smith is back in Ottawa to fix up a facial fracture (ouch!), so Jack Rodewald has been called up from the Belleville Senators after posting four goals and three assists in seven games. Based on Guy Boucher’s practice availability from yesterday, here’s what we’re expecting from the Senators:
Boedker - Tierney - Ryan
Formenton - White - Paajarvi
McCormick - Pyatt
Chabot - DeMelo
Lajoie - Ceci
Borowiecki - Wideman
Extras: Jack Rodewald, Christian Wolanin
Meanwhile, from DailyFaceoff.com, Vegas is expected to counter with:
Pacioretty - Haula - Tuch
Carpenter - Eakin - Lindberg
Carrier - Bellemare - Reaves
McNabb - Miller
Theodore - Engelland
Merrill - Holden
Extras: Stastny (inj.)
- Some logistical notes to start: Smith will miss at least a month with his facial fracture. Boucher would’ve loved to call-up a centre, but Brown, Chlapik, Paul, and Jim O’Brien are all injured at the AHL level.
- Hence, Colin White will shift to centre. Boucher lamented the fact, noting that White’s been playing his best hockey of his career at RW with Duchene, and he’s been able to take faceoffs on his strong side while Duchene splits the others. Now, he’ll be taking a ton of draws. The coach mentioned that “doesn’t want to have young guys playing together, but will have to for a while” — voilá, Formenton alongside White.
- Ben Harpur is also on IR and back in Ottawa; he won’t play on this trip. Mark Borowiecki has returned from his one-game suspension and will be in the line-up. Call-ups Wolanin (sadface) and Rodewald will be extras barring a pre-game skate debacle.
- A Boucher quote: “we won our three games in a row because we had seven defencemen.” Uh, I hope the analysis runs a bit deeper than this, but okay? Could’ve been some luck, some addition by subtraction (sorry, Cody Ceci), and some stellar goaltending (thanks, Craig Anderson). I understand that seven defencemen gives less minutes to each individual player, allowing them to be fresher and potentially play harder with spread out shifts, but we know it’s a tactic Boucher loves. Expect a lot of it over the next month.
- Unlike the Senators, Vegas’ poor record is due to a bit of bad luck. They generate a plethora of chances from in front of the net at 5-on-5, feature one of the league’s best defensive shot maps (which still blows my mind given some of the names they have on D), and you can see where their five players set-up on the powerplay nicely just from this graphic. Everyone has a role, and the team consistently wins the shot battle at 5-on-5. What’s the issue then? A league-worst shooting percentage (5%) at 5-on-5, and the fourth-worst save percentage (0.899%). That will change, and the Senators are hoping it’s not tonight.
- Next up on the Will The Senators Be Able To Defend Against The Top Line? One of the league’s deadliest trios last season (thanks, Dale Tallon): Jonathan Marchessault, William Karlsson, and Reilly Smith.
Here are the stats, via NHL.com and NaturalStatTrick:
|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|
|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|