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Game 42 Preview & Open Thread: Ottawa Senators vs Tampa Bay Lightning

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Will this be the game Chabot cracks 40 minutes?

NHL: DEC 17 Senators at Lightning Photo by Andrew Bershaw/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Forty-one down, fifty-seven to go.

Yes, you read that right. That’s 41 regular-season games where the Ottawa Senators make a surprise run and squeak into the playoffs, and then proceed to sweep four different teams to win their first-ever Stanley Cup. Alexis Lafreniere, you say? Never heard of him. Anyway, that run starts tonight against the Tampa Bay Lightning.

The Bolts are currently holding down the 3rd seed in the Atlantic Division with a 22-13-4 record, however they are only a up single point on the Florida Panthers, with a game in hand. There’s a real chance they’ll miss the playoffs, but that might actually be good for them because having to fight for a playoff spot down the stretch will keep them from being too relaxed, as they were last season. This is the reason why the President’s Trophy winner rarely wins the Stanley Cup.

Craig Anderson will start tonight’s game. Here are tonight’s lines, per The Athletic’s Hailey Salvian:

Paul - Pageau - C.Brown
Tkachuk - White - Ennis
Namestnikov - Tierney - Batherson
Balcers - Anisimov - Boedker
Chabot - Borowiecki
Reilly - Jaros
Englund - Goloubef

Anderson (Starter)
Hogberg

Game Notes:

  • Mike Reilly, acquired on Thursday from the Montreal Canadiens, will make his Senators’ debut tonight. He tallied 4 assists in 14 games with the Habs, and GM Pierre Dorion describes him as a “strong-skating puck-moving defenceman”, so expect him to skate strong and move the puck well.
  • To make room for Reilly, Erik Brannstrom was re-assigned to Belleville yesterday. He’s a better option in the NHL than Andreas Englund and Cody Goloubef, but more time in the minors is likely ultimately a good thing for his development.
  • Anthony Duclair blocked a shot Thursday and will be a game-time decision. If he’s unable to go tonight, it will be Drake Batherson, who was recalled today.
  • Nikita Zaitsev was set to return tonight from a lower-body injury, however he suffered a setback during practice before Thursday’s game and is expected to be out a bit longer.
  • Vladislav Namestnikov is currently on a cold streak, with two points in his last ten games. If you listen closely, you can actually hear the sound of Dorion’s ringtone dying down.
  • Kevin Shattenkirk is proving to be a shrewd signing for Lightning GM Julien BriseBois. Bought out by the New York Rangers in the offseason due to a cap crunch, the 30-year old defenceman signed a 1-year deal worth 1.75M with the Lightning, and has produced 25 points in 39 games thus far.

Stats:

As per usual, from NHL.com and NaturalStatTrick.com:

Player Stats

Game #58 Ottawa Senators Toronto Maple Leafs
Game #58 Ottawa Senators Toronto Maple Leafs
Category Player # Player #
Goals Anthony Duclair/Jean-Gabriel Pageau 21 Auston Matthews 41
Assists Thomas Chabot 26 Mitch Marner 44
Points Connor Brown 35 Auston Matthews 69
Shots Brady Tkachuk 212 Auston Matthews 236
Time on Ice/GP Thomas Chabot 26.01 Morgan Rielly 24:15

Team Stats

Ottawa Senators Los Angeles Kings
Ottawa Senators Los Angeles Kings
# Rank # Rank
Goals/GP 2.69 24th 2.52 30th
Goals against/GP 3.36 30th 3.00 14th
Shots/GP 30.7 21st 33.1 5th
Shots against/GP 33.5 29th 29.8 6th
Powerplay % 14.3 31st 16.9 26th
Penalty Kill % 76.1 26th 77.1 26th
Corsi % (5v5, Score and Venue Adjusted) 48.25 26th 53.13 4th
xGF% (5v5, SVA) 49.74 19th 51.94 8th

The game is set to begin at 7:00 PM EST, and can be watched on Sportsnet One, or listened to live on TSN 1200.