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Game 40 Preview & Open Thread: Ottawa Senators @ Pittsburgh Penguins

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A back-to-back brings the Sens into the steel city to face the Penguins

NHL: Ottawa Senators at Pittsburgh Penguins Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

After a sloppy game against New Jersey saw both teams pick up a point, the Sens are going to need their legs against a Penguins team that’s 8-2-0 in their last 10, and are among the better groups in the Eastern Conference.

There’s not much indication that D.J. Smith is going to make any lineup changes other than in goal, where Marcus Hogberg will get into his sixth game with the big club:

Tkachuk - Pageau - Brown
Ennis - Tierney - Duclair
Namestnikov - Anisimov - White
Paul - Beaudin - Sabourin

Chabot - Goloubef
Borowiecki - Brännström
Englund - Jaros

Hogberg (starter)
Nilsson

Meanwhile, here’s how the Penguins lined up the last time out against the Nashville Predators:

Guentzel - Malkin - Rust
Kahun - McCann - Galchenyuk
Simon - Lafferty - Hornquist
Aston-Reese - Blueger - Tanev

Johnson - Letang
Pettersson - Marino
Riikola - Ruhwedel

Jarry (starter)
Murray

Game Notes

  • Let’s start with Pittsburgh. The team has won a league-best 15 home games, and as you can see in the stats below, rank among the top-10 in many important league-wide categories outside of special teams.
  • They’ve done this without Sidney Crosby, who had 17 points in 17 games before going down with an injury. Ex-Panther Nick Bjugstad, top powerplay quarterback Justin Schultz, and reliable defensive contributor Brian Dumoulin are all out — hence all the new names in the Pens lineup.
  • It’s rare to see a Penguins team without Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, or Kris Letang being the de facto MVP. Jake Guentzel and Bryan Rust co-share the honours this year, with Guentzel leading in most of the counting numbers, and Rust channelling his inner Brady Tkachuk — generating individual expected goals at an alarming rate.
  • After coming over in the Olli Määttä trade, 24-year-old German winger Dominik Kahun has provided much needed depth scoring for the Penguins. One of four active German forwards receiving NHL time, Kahun has nine goals and 21 points in 37 games.
  • One trade that hasn’t really worked out is the acquisition of ex-Habs top pick Alex Galchenyuk. He has 13 points in 29 games and is near the bottom on the team in terms of shot metrics.
  • The Penguins in general are a pretty young group, with 13 of their 23 skaters age 25 or younger. That’s one more than Ottawa’s current group of 22. On defence, the second pair of third-year pro Marcus Pettersson (23) and rookie John Marino (22) have stepped into important minutes in the absence of Schultz and Dumoulin.
  • On Ottawa’s end, D.J. Smith was unhappy with his team’s 60-minute effort and the sloppy penalties they took. Look for the team to try and be more disciplined today as a result.
  • While he signed a big contract in 2019, I’m sure Colin White is hoping that 2020 will be a better year for him personally. He’s been starting to turn a corner lately with four points in his last five games. He’s been trending well in terms of expected goals, but is ~47% in shot share. He really seems to struggle with Vlad Namestnikov on his wing.

Stats, as always, are courtesy of naturalstattrick.com and nhl.com:

Player Stats

Ottawa Senators Calgary Flames
Ottawa Senators Calgary Flames
Category Player # Player #
Goals Anthony Duclair 21 Elias Lindholm 20
Assists Thomas Chabot 23 Johnny Gaudreau 25
Points Anthony Duclair 32 Matthew Tkachuk, Johnny Gaudreau 38
Shots Brady Tkachuk 167 Johnny Gaudreau 141
Time On Ice Thomas Chabot 26:34 Mark Giordano 24:11

Team Stats

Ottawa Senators Florida Panthers
Ottawa Senators Florida Panthers
# Rank # Rank
Goals/GP 2.77 22nd 3.49 5th
Goals against/GP 3.25 23rd 3.36 28th
Shots/GP 29.8 24th 33.3 7th
Shots against/GP 33.1 29th 32.1 21st
Powerplay % 11.2 31st 23.0 9th
Penalty Kill % 81.5 13th 78.2 22nd
Corsi % (5v5, Score and Venue Adjusted) 46.65 28th 49.59 19th
Fenwick % (5v5, SVA) 47.61 24th 50.29 15th