The Ottawa Senators (26-37-11) are in North Carolina tonight to finish off a home-and-home with the Carolina Hurricanes (33-31-11). The Devils (86 points) and Panthers (83 points) all but have their wild-card spots locked up, meaning that the Canes (77 points) will likely be on the outside looking in. As the Senators saw first-hand on Saturday, the Canes still have many talented pieces, but like Ottawa, have been doomed primarily by their goaltending.
Captain Erik Karlsson played on Saturday, but isn’t with the team on the short one-game road trip, choosing to stay with his wife and loved ones in Ottawa. Mark Stone and Marian Gaborík are expected to remain out, while Craig Anderson will replace Mike Condon in net. Recently called up from Belleville, local boy Ben Sexton will play his first NHL game at the age of 26. After 31 points in 54 games with Albany (NJ) last season, Sexton has 21 in 28 with Belleville.
The Senators didn’t skate today, but judging how they lined up yesterday and accounting for the addition of Ben Sexton, here’s what you can expect:
Hoffman - Pageau - Chlapik
Paajarvi - Smith - Pyatt
Sexton - McCormick - Burrows
Chabot - Ceci
Harpur - Borowiecki
Claesson - Wolanin
Meanwhile, the Canes are expected to counter with (via Canes Country):
Skinner - Lindholm - Di Giuseppe
Zykov - Aho - Teravainen
Foegele - Ryan - Nordstrom
Slavin - Dahlbeck
Hanifin - van Riemsdyk
Fleury - McKeown
- With the Senators back to six defenceman, it’ll be interesting to see if Wolanin gets back to his ~16-17 minutes rather than his ~9-10 from Saturday.
- Countering Ben Sexton for Carolina is Warren Foegele, also making his NHL debut. He’s fourth in team scoring for Charlotte (AHL) with 42 points in 65 games, and had an interesting developmental path. Foegele worked his way through the Canadian high school system, went to UNH (NCAA) for a season, and then transferred to the OHL to play for Kingston and Erie.
- Sexton, on the other hand, played in Nepean in the CJHL before moving to Penticton in the BCHL. He played four years with Mark Borowiecki’s Clarkson Golden Knights, and then two seasons with the Providence Bruins as Boston was the team who drafted him back in 2009. Sexton’s been a noticeable player for Belleville and one of their few productive signings from this past offseason. He was also supposedly Taylor Hall’s most difficult minor league opponent.
- Craig Anderson returns to the net after giving up six to the Oilers on Thursday. Although Andy has a winning record in March (4-2-1), he has a poor .888 SV%.
- On that note, Travis Yost penned a piece about the Sens and Canes for TSN. Here’s a snippet:
There are plenty of commonalities across both franchises, but dreadful goaltending performance is definitely at the top of the list. Heading into the final week two weeks of the regular season, Ottawa and Carolina sit 30th and 31st, respectively, in team save percentage.
It wasn’t supposed to play out this way. Craig Anderson, as predictable and steady a goaltender as there is in the league, is stopping less than 90 per cent of shots in Ottawa. Scott Darling was less of a known quantity for Carolina but he had performed admirably in the 75 games he previously spent with Chicago. His save percentage crashed mercilessly this year in Carolina, which is quickly becoming a goaltender graveyard. (Mike Condon and Cam Ward have hardly been any better.)
As it stands right now, it’s likely that both teams will finish up as two of the 20 worst by save percentage in the modern era. And as you’ll note, being in this group virtually always means missing the playoffs by a considerable margin.
|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|
|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|