Coming off an impressive 4-1 win in Raleigh on Friday night, the Senators waltz into St. Louis winners of four of their last five. Their 43 points are good enough for 27th in the NHL, two up on last place Chicago, and two behind the 25th ranked Blues.
With Mark Borowiecki suffering a lower-body injury last night and the team being on a back-to-back, Guy Boucher has made some lineup changes and will run 12F and 6D. Nick Paul and Craig Anderson return to the lineup, while Max Lajoie is swapped out for Ben Harpur on the back-end:
Dzingel - Duchene - Ryan
Smith - Pageau - Paajarvi
Balcers - Paul - Boedker
Chabot - DeMelo
Harpur - Ceci
Wolanin - Jaros
On the other side of the crease, expect backup goaltender Jordan Binnington to get the start in net after Jake Allen let in five in a loss to the Bruins on Thursday night:
Schwartz - Schenn - Steen
Blais - Sundqvist - Kyrou
Maceachern - Barbashev - Nolan
Gunnarsson - Pietrangelo
Bouwmeester - Parayko
Dunn - Bortuzzo
Extras: Bozak (inj.), Perron (inj.), Sanford (inj.)
- The Senators are getting a lucky break tonight with David Perron missing the game with an upper body injury. Perron was on a 13-game point streak and sits second in team scoring with 35 points in 45 games.
- St. Louis is a weird team. After trading for Ryan O’Reilly, I picked them as a playoff team in the Central, but they’ve underperformed those expectations greatly in terms of standings points. Defensively, they are strong — preventing shot attempts and quality chances against on a regular basis. While they still generally win the scoring chance battle, Jake Allen’s 0.897 sv% in 36 games have really sunk them, and the team doesn’t generate as much offence in return to make up for his miscues.
- Still, the fact that names like Vladimir Tarasenko have been in the trade rumours is absolutely asinine. Tarasenko, Jaden Schwartz, and Brayden Schenn have underperformed a bit, but are all still on pace for 50+ points. Looking at the team’s shot chart, I’d try to fix their depth as there’s a giant contrast when their top-six forwards or bottom-six forwards are on the ice.
- Head coach Mike Yeo was fired early into the season after the Blues stumbled out of the gate, and Craig Berube deserves a lot of credit for having the team play well with just three good defencemen: Pietrangelo and Parayko on the right-side, and Dunn on the left. Funnily enough, if you combined the Sens and Blues D corps, you’d probably get a really complete unit.
- Boucher noted that he’ll be shuffling his lines quite a bit tonight. I hope it’s just to manage ice-time and energy, because I thought the trios having been playing really well on this winning streak.
- He also continued to heap praise on Christian Wolanin, who scored his third goal in 10 games last night on a great feed from St. Louis-born, Brady Tkachuk. Wolanin’s got to be the team’s third best defenceman at the moment (depending on what you think of Dylan DeMelo), and I don’t think there’s any reason for him not to play T4 minutes consistently to see how he handles it.
Here are some stats, courtesy of NHL.com and Natural Stat Trick.
|Goals||Matt Duchene||24||Mark Scheifele||27|
|Assists||Mark Stone||31||Blake Wheeler||36|
|Points||Mark Stone||54||Blake Wheeler||65|
|Shots||Thomas Chabot||182||Patrik Laine||182|
|TOI/GP||Thomas Chabot||24:00||Dustin Byfuglien||24:32|