Fatigue seemed to catch up with Anders Nilsson and for a change Ottawa’s goaltending begat the loss on Friday night against the New York Islanders whom the Senators actually hung around with in terms of shot attempt-volume. The action resumes on Sunday with a matchup that presents something of a quandary for Team Tank.
The lines at Saturday’s practice looked something like this:
The San Jose Sharks should have a chip on their shoulder following a loss to the Toronto Maple Leafs that saw pretty much nothing go right for the team in teal. Kevin Kurz posted these lines for the Sharks:
Dell (Ottawa will get another backup)
DJ Smith has opted to healthy scratch Bobby Ryan and recall Filip Chlapik from Belleville. Accordingly to capfriendly.com Ottawa’s seven (!) highest-paid forwards are either on the injured reserve or watching from the press box. Vladislav Namestnikov has the highest cap hit of any Senators forward playing tonight at $3.25M. This move handicaps Belleville somewhat as they now have to ice four lines without Chlapik, Logan Brown, Nick Paul, JC Beaudin, Rudolfs Balcers (injured), and Jack Rodewald (traded to the Florida Panthers last night). I won’t get to write about coach Mann healthy-scratching any of the team’s skilled young forwards any time soon.
Chris Tierney and Dylan DeMelo get another opportunity to act as a thorn in the side of the team that shipped them off in one of the biggest trades in franchise history. Mikkel Boedker has found himself in and out of the pressbox this season so the coach will decide if he plays against his former squad after sitting out Friday’s match (he skated as the extra again at Saturday’s practice). Rudolfs Balcers remains on the injured reserve and the lack of updates from the team has gotten me worried about the young Latvian’s season. He looked like one of Ottawa’s ripest young forwards and I had anticipated that he would stick to the roster full time after an impressive year.
The Sharks special teams have performed admirably thus far. The story remains, as we all know, the goaltending. Martin Jones and Aaron Dell have both stopped less than 90% of the shots they’ve seen at five-on-five. Speaking of five-on-five, the Sharks rank in the same stratosphere as Ottawa in some shot-generation metrics at even strength, and have really got their advantage over the Senators by virtue of the aforementioned special teams and their elevated shooting percentage. Ottawa has the goaltending edge for once this year!
So about that tanking conundrum, the Senators possess both their own (how novel) and the Sharks’ first round picks this season. So I would argue that ideally Ottawa might want to win this game because we know the Senators will end up in a lottery spot while the Sharks could still get back on course. Every Sharks “L” counts in Ottawa this season.
Oh and the Senators traded away the best defender of this era/perennial Norris Trophy candidate/future first ballot hall of famer yada yada yada here, have some stats (provided as always by the indispensable naturalstattrick.com) :
|Goals||Vladislav Namestnikov||4||Evander Kane||6|
|Assists||Connor Brown||8||Brent Burns/Logan Couture||8|
|Points||Thomas Chabot/Connor Brown||8||Brent Burns/Tomas Hertl||10|
|Shots||Brady Tkachuk||38||Brent Burns||33|
|Time On Ice||Thomas Chabot||26:29||Brent Burns||26:36|
|Penalty Kill %||81.4||13th||92.5||1st|
|Corsi % (5v5, Score and Venue Adjusted)||45.14||29th||48.73||23rd|
|Fenwick % (5v5, SVA)||46.32||28th||47.10||27th|