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Game 68 Preview: Ottawa Senators @ Florida Panthers

A preview of tonight’s Atlantic division matchup against the Florida Panthers.

Calgary Flames v Ottawa Senators

Back in November, it looked like the Florida Panthers (34-25-7) would be joining Ottawa (23-33-11) near the bottom of the Eastern Conference standings. However, since December, the Panthers have been on a roll, and now find themselves just two points back of the Columbus Blue Jackets (77 points) of the final wild card spot.

Florida’s a sparking 8-1-1 in their last 10 — including a franchise record eight straight wins at home that they’ll be hoping to extend tonight. Meanwhile, Ottawa’s 2-6-2 — fresh off a 2-1 loss to the Flames.

Lineup Projections

Craig Anderson will be starting in his home state tonight and Mark Stone will miss tonight’s game with a leg injury — that’s for sure. We are, however, a bit uncertain on who’s doing to be playing on defence. There were some indications at practice today that Erik Burgdoefer may be in over Fredrik Claesson or Ben Harpur (who looked shaken up at practice yesterday). Keeping that in mind... here’s our projected Sens lineup:

Hoffman - Duchene - Dzingel
Ryan - Pageau - Gaborik
Paajarvi - Smith - Pyatt
McCormick - O’Brien - Burrows

Claesson - Karlsson
Harpur - Ceci
Borowiecki - Chabot
Burgdoefer (healthy scratch)

Anderson (starter)

Meanwhile, the Panthers are getting Denis Malgin back from injury and are expected to go with:

Dadonov - Barkov - Bjugstad
Huberdeau - Trocheck - Malgin
McGinn - McCann - Vatrano
Haley - MacKenzie - Sceviour

Ekblad - Yandle
Matheson - Pysyk
Weegar - Petrovic
Mamin (healthy scratch)

Luongo (starter)

Game notes

  • Stone finished Friday’s game against Calgary, but the weekend wasn’t enough rest for him to suit up today. Guy Boucher was pretty vague about the timeline of this injury, other than noting that he won’t play either game in Florida. Stone previously missed nine games with a lower-body injury.
  • Ottawa’s last game against Florida was right before the holiday break, and was a 1-0 shutout loss. It dampened the mood heading into the break, and things haven’t been much better since.
  • From Guy Boucher: “You look at video, they’re firing from all cylinders. They’ve got lots of intensity, lots of drive. They have two 60 pointers on their second line. Not a lot of teams have that.”
  • Keith Yandle has quietly eclipsed his point totals from last season (41 in 82), with 46 points in 66 games currently. He’s been a beneficiary of having Huberdeau and Barkov healthy on the powerplay.
  • Six players (Barkov, Dadonov, Yandle, Bjugstad, Trocheck, and Huberdeau) all have 8+ points in their last 10 games.
  • The Panthers have a hard time getting to the net at even-strength and on the powerplay, but still generate a decent number of scoring chances. They’ve been helped by their Russian additions, Evgeny Dadonov and Denis Malgin.
  • Trade deadline acquisition, Frank Vatrano, has slid into top-six minutes for the Cats despite lining up on the third line. A volume shooter, Vatrano adds some needed depth to the Panthers right-side. Moreover, when I look at their lineup, they really seem to beat Ottawa with their depth on forward (especially third-line and depth defencemen)

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