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Game 49 Preview: Ottawa Senators @ St. Louis Blues

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Can the Sens continue their winning ways as they head into Missouri?

St. Louis Blues v Ottawa Senators Photo by Jana Chytilova/Freestyle Photography/Getty Images

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:

Tkachuk - Tierney - Stone
Dzingel - Duchene - Ryan
Smith - Pageau - Paajarvi
Balcers - Paul - Boedker

Chabot - DeMelo
Harpur - Ceci
Wolanin - Jaros

Anderson (starter)
Nilsson

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:

Maroon - O'Reilly - Tarasenko
Schwartz - Schenn - Steen
Blais - Sundqvist - Kyrou
Maceachern - Barbashev - Nolan

Gunnarsson - Pietrangelo
Bouwmeester - Parayko
Dunn - Bortuzzo

Binnington (starter)
Allen

Extras: Bozak (inj.), Perron (inj.), Sanford (inj.)

Game Notes:

  • 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.

Team Stats

Ottawa Senators Anaheim Ducks
Ottawa Senators Anaheim Ducks
Value Rank Value Rank
3.08 12th 2.26 31st
3.75 31st 3.15 21st
29.6 24th 27.1 31st
36.3 31st 34.2 29th
20.8 16th 14.2 29th
76.6 27th 79.5 17th
43.71 31st 45.72 29th
44.31 31st 45.20 30th

Player Stats

Ottawa Senators Winnipeg Jets
Ottawa Senators Winnipeg Jets
-- Player # Player #
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