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Game 77 Preview: Florida Panthers @ Ottawa Senators

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Both team should want the same result tonight

NHL: Florida Panthers at Ottawa Senators Marc DesRosiers-USA TODAY Sports

Six games left, people. We can do this. This season that has dragged on and on and on is coming to an end, and then we can have stress-free playoff hockey. And let’s not talk about what comes after that.

Tonight’s game against the Panthers will feature Craig Anderson in net. Ben Harpur will be a healthy scratch again for Christian Wolanin. Colin White returns as an emergency call-up to replace Marian Gaborik, who Boucher now refers to as “week-to-week” (with one week remaining in the season). Here are the lines per TSN 1200:

Dzingel - Duchene - Ryan
Hoffman - Pageau - Pyatt
Paajarvi - Smith - White
Chlapik - McCormick - Burrows

Chabot - Karlsson
Borowiecki - Ceci
Claesson - Wolanin

Anderson(starter)
Condon

Some traditional thoughts:

  • Referring to White as an emergency call-up likely means the Sens still have one call-up left this season. Bruce Garrioch suggested on Tuesday that it could be Filip Gustavsson. We’ll wait and see. Personally, my money’s on Gabriel Gagne for an NHL shot before the season’s done.
  • I’m not sure I get the point of healthy scratching Ben Harpur over and over. Sure, I don’t love his game, but he’s on a one-way contract for the next two seasons. Probably best to try him in a bunch of different scenarios in a lost season and find out what you’ve got. Maybe more I don’t understand the point of giving him a two-year extension and then scratching him over and over. I’m hoping he turns out like Mark Borowiecki - a guy who had no NHL experience before his first one-way contract, who looked lost early, but who seems to have come into his own after a couple years as a third-pairing guy.
  • I’d be alright with swapping Tom Pyatt with Colin White or Filip Chlapik. Pyatt has been among the least controversial players this season, but I still think we’d all agree that his quiet, responsible game doesn’t jive well with Mike Hoffman’s “goals or bust” style
  • Mark Stone will probably play again before the end of the season. He remains the team’s leading scorer with 62 points in 58 games, despite many of the team’s players having played in all 76 to date.
  • Chris Wideman will not play before the end of the year. Boucher confirmed this morning that doctors have shut him down. Barring a 2017 Clarke MacArthur moment, we may have seen the last of Wideman as a Senator.
  • Elliotte Friedman’s 31 Thoughts had a great opening point: why not allow healthy scratches to be brought in like in baseball? You can swap a guy in the press box for a guy on the bench, but the guy leaving the game now can’t come back. It’d help teams in case of injury, but also could give you the rookies a chance to play in the third period of a blowout. Call me intrigued.
  • The Senators are 30th in the league, two points behind each the Canucks and Coyotes, but with one more game to play. The Panthers are three points out of the playoffs with a game in hand on the Devils. A regulation Florida win tonight would do wonders for both team’s hopes, just sayin’.
  • By the way:

Some stats:

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