Back and rested following their week-long Christmas break, the Ottawa Senators travelled to Brooklyn for the first half of this weekend’s back-to-back. They’ve lost their last two, while the New York Islanders have won four of their last five, trying to claw themselves into a wild card spot.
A couple new injuries have plagued the Sens, with Justin Falk and Craig Anderson both out with a concussion. Despite Falk’s injury, Boucher will still roll with seven defencemen, with Max Lajoie returning to injury and Christian Jaros being removed from the healthy scratch list.
The player scratched: Tom Pyatt. Count me surprised, but it looks like his healthy scratch earlier this month was not a fluke. It helps that Nick Paul’s play has grown on Boucher since the start of the season, although the team is significantly better with Pyatt out of the lineup.
Anderson’s injury is much more concerning, and hopefully we can find out the severity and timeline soon. Mike McKenna will be Ottawa’s starter tonight, and there may even be a chance he plays tomorrow, with rookie Marcus Hogberg sitting on the bench.
For some more positive injury news, Jean-Gabriel Pageau is no longer wearing a no-contact jersey during practice. His timeline for return is still unknown, although he’s getting closer.
The Islanders are also suffering a few injuries, with Jordan Eberle, Andrew Ladd, Thomas Hickey and Cal Clutterbuck out of their lineup. Robin Lehner will be in the opposite net.
Here’s Ottawa’s projected lineup, via TSN 1200:
Smith - Duchene - Dzingel
Boedker - Tierney - Ryan
Paul - Paajarvi
Chabot - DeMelo
Harpur - Ceci
Borowiecki - Jaros
- Robin Lehner’s been excellent while facing his former team, going 2-0-1 against Ottawa last season, and 3-0-1 in 2016-17. The Sens have yet to beat him in regulation.
- It’ll be interesting to see how they manage their goalie tandem with Anderson out. Do they trust McKenna enough to give him the same workload they were giving Andy? Will Hogberg even get a start, and if so, do they also decide to give a chance to Filip Gustavsson at some point? Maybe Condon returns from injury or they claim someone off waivers, but there’s a lot up in the air right now.
- Game time is 7:00 p.m. You can catch the game at TSN5, RDS2 or MSG+.
Here are some stats, via NHL.com and Natural Stat Trick:
|Penalty Kill %||74.5||29th||77.1||25th|
|Corsi (5v5, Score & Venue Adjusted)||43.24||31st||48.37||23rd|
|Fenwick (5v5, SVA)||43.57||31st||48.32||22nd|
|Goals||Mark Stone||17||Alexander Ovechkin||29|
|Assists||Thomas Chabot||28||Nicklas Backstrom||32|
|Points||Mark Stone||41||Alexander Ovechkin||45|
|Shots||Thomas Chabot||100||Alexander Ovechkin||145|
|TOI/GP||Thomas Chabot||23:52||John Carlson||25:26|