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Game 53 Preview: Nashville Predators @ Ottawa Senators

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32 games and counting

NHL: Nashville Predators at Ottawa Senators
This happened the last time the Preds came to Ottawa
Marc DesRosiers-USA TODAY Sports

Tonight marks the return of Kyle Turris to Ottawa, with the Predators in town fresh off a 3-2 SO loss to the Maple Leafs. Don’t let that fool you though - they outshot Toronto 46-32. Sure, they’ll be on the second-half of a back-to-back with travel, but every time the Sens have underestimated an opponent this season, they’ve lost. Actually, they’ve done a lot of losing even without underestimating their opponents too. Anyway, point being, Nashville is a really good team, and Ottawa hasn’t been, three-wins-in-four-games notwithstanding.

Alexandre Burrows will start his 10-game suspension tonight. Mike Blunden was re-called this morning, and the Sens will go with 11 forwards and 7 defencemen. Here are the projected lines and pairings:

Hoffman - Duchene - White
Dzingel - Smith - DiDomenico
Paajarvi - Pageau - Pyatt
McCormick - Blunden

Oduya - Karlsson
Chabot - Ceci
Phaneuf - Borowiecki
Claesson

Anderson (starter)
Condon

Some thoughts:

  • More and more teams seem to be using 11 forwards and seven defencemen, at least some of the time. To me, this kind of makes sense. The lowest of your fourth-line forwards is only going to get maybe eight minutes per game. It makes more sense to give those minutes to an extra defenceman, which will help especially if a d-man takes a penalty or gets injured. Rotating your best players through the fourth line is a great chance to give call-ups a chance with skilled linemates. It means your best prospects (or Max McCormick) get a chance to play with a good player.
  • I think the Blunden call-up is a reward to the Belleville captain. It’s not easy captaining a team that’s had as awful of a start as the B-Sens. Even if he’s only up a couple days with the big team, the couple days of NHL pay give him around ~$5000 of bonus pay. I’d take that.
  • Last game, Dion Phaneuf and Cody Ceci were split up after allowing the opening goal. I’m curious to see if that continues, or if Boucher returns to them the way a dog returns to its vomit. As Demi Lovato would say, I’m sorry I’m not sorry.
  • Boucher had some good comments on Colin White, saying he’s with Matt Duchene and Mike Hoffman because he deserves it, not just because of injury. We’ll see if White is still with them by the second period tonight, or if then someone like Zack Smith or McCormick “deserves it” more.
  • Speaking of which, the Sens have apparently cooled on the thought of trading Hoffman, according to Bob McKenzie
  • Mike Condon is apparently sick, but will still sit as the backup.
  • Speaking of goaltending, Marcus Hogberg got his first career AHL shutout last night. For some reason he hadn’t started in two weeks, and wasn’t even scheduled to start last night but got it because Danny Taylor had the flu. In a lost season for both the big club and the AHL squad, I don’t know why the Sens’ most promising goalie prospect is stuck behind a KHL signing that didn’t work out and a guy who’s part of the Colorado Avalanche organization.
  • You’re never ready for another article about Turris and the Capital City Condors
  • Since the trade, Turris has 6 goals and 16 assists in 37 games; Duchene has 9 goals and 11 assists in 38 games. Turris started out red-hot after the trade, but has just five points in his last 20 games. Duchene went the other way, starting off cold, but now has 14 points in his last 14 games. How many times will the two be compared on the broadcast?
  • No Mike Fisher tonight, as he’s still training with the team, aiming to sign a contract by February 26th (the trade deadline)

Here are some stats for each team:

Team Stats

Category Ottawa Senators Boston Bruins
Category Ottawa Senators Boston Bruins
-- Value Rank Value Rank
Goals/GP 2.68 25th 3.25 6th
Goals against/GP 3.44 30th 2.56 3rd
Shots/GP 30.7 24th 32.8 11th
Shots against/GP 33.0 25th 29.3 2nd
Powerplay % 16.7 26th 23.5 4th
Penalty Kill % 76.2 27th 83.3 4th
Corsi (5v5, Score & Venue Adjusted) 46.32 29th 53.97 2nd
Fenwick (5v5, SVA) 46.94 27th 54.01 1st

Player Stats

Ottawa Senators Boston Bruins
Ottawa Senators Boston Bruins
-- Player # Player #
Goals Matt Duchene 27 Brad Marchand 34
Assists Erik Karlsson (out) 53 Brad Marchand 51
Points Karlsson/Stone (both out) 62 Brad Marchand 85
Shots Mike Hoffman 253 David Pastrnak 236
TOI/GP Erik Karlsson (out) 26:44 Zdeno Chara 22:53