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Game 77 Preview: Florida Panthers @ Ottawa Senators

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Counting down the games until this dreadful season is over.

Ottawa Senators v Florida Panthers Photo by Joel Auerbach/Getty Images

Six games remaining, then we can finally put a close on this hellscape of a hockey season. Just six more games.

The Ottawa Senators still have to hit the ice tonight, facing off against another ill-fated team team in the Florida Panthers. With both groups eliminated from playoff contention, the Sens will be playing to keep Colorado from having the best odds at the 1st overall draft pick (the Kings are four points ahead), while the Panthers... well, who knows.

Ottawa has won their last two, and a win tonight would give them their third three-game win streak of the season. The last won lasted from November 27th to December 1st.

Zack Smith will miss his third straight game, while Cody Ceci will make his return after missing the last three. A decision on who comes out of the lineup will be made before game time.

Here are the lines and pairings from today’s morning skate, via TSN 1200. Keep in mind Ceci will replace one of the defencemen — my guess is Christian Jaros.

Tkachuk - Pageau - Veronneau
Duclair - Tierney - Boedker
Balcers - White - Ryan
Gibbons - Lindberg - Paajarvi

Chabot - DeMelo
Wolanin - Harpur
Borowiecki - Jaros

Nilsson (starter)
Anderson

Game Notes

  • Out with the old, and in with the new. It appears that Ottawa has turned into the place for pending UFAs to thrive, as in the wake of Ryan Dzingel, Matt Duchene and Mark Stone all being traded, a new unlikely UFA trio has emerged in Brian Gibbons, Oscar Lindberg and Magnus Paajarvi. One of the three fourth-liners have registered a point on six of Ottawa’s last eleven goals.
  • Add Anders Nilsson to the list of pending UFAs playing for their next contract. Appearing in his 34th game of the season, this is the biggest workload he’s ever had playing in the NHL.
  • In case you missed it this morning, Jean-Gabriel Pageau was nominated for the Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy.
  • The Senators have noted tonight’s game as “an evening dedicated to truth and reconciliation”, in respect and support for Indigenous communities. A flag raising ceremony will take place prior to the game, as will a ceremonial puck drop. Kudos to the Sens for taking this initiative.
  • The event coincides with Brady Keeper making his NHL debut. The 22-year-old defenceman grew up in an Aboriginal community in Manitoba, and has served as a role model to Indigenous hockey players.
  • Game time is 7:30pm, and you can catch the broadcast on TSN5 and RDS2.

Here are some stats from NHL.com and Natural Stat Trick:

Team Stats

Ottawa Senators Toronto Maple Leafs
Ottawa Senators Toronto Maple Leafs
Category Value Rank Value Rank
Goals/GP 2.96 16th 3.57 2nd
Goals Against/GP 3.66 31st 3.01 17th
Shots/GP 29.9 24th 33.1 5th
Shots Against/GP 35.9 31st 33.1 24th
Powerplay % 20.1 16th 22.0 8th
Penalty Kill % 79.5 20th 80.9 12th
Corsi (5v5, Score & Venue Adjusted) 45.04 31st 51.62 9th
Fenwick (5v5, SVA) 45.55 31st 50.20 15th

Player Stats

Ottawa Senators Toronto Maple Leafs
Ottawa Senators Toronto Maple Leafs
-- Player # Player #
Goals Brady Tkachuk 20 John Tavares 25
Assists Thomas Chabot 40 Mitch Marner 65
Points Thomas Chabot 53 Mitch Marner 90
Shots Brady Tkachuk 203 John Tavares 268
TOI/GP Thomas Chabot 24:11 Morgan Reilly 23:02