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Game 20 Preview + Open Thread: Ottawa Senators vs. Vancouver Canucks

Drake Batherson returns and Adam Gaudette makes his Sens debut as the Ottawa Senators host the Vancouver Canucks tonight.

Vancouver Canucks v Ottawa Senators Photo by André Ringuette/NHLI via Getty Images

Whether it will impact the game or not, there will be plenty of change for the Ottawa Senators tonight as they host the Vancouver Canucks.

To start, this is Ottawa’s first game with an NHL roster that does not include Matt Murray. Since being waived on Saturday, Murray has been spending time in Belleville and will be making his AHL debut this Saturday.

The two main changes we’ll be seeing that will actually impact the game tonight will be Adam Gaudette’s Sens debut and Drake Batherson’s return from COVID protocol.

Gaudette, 25, was claimed off waives from the Chicago Blackhawks the same day the news broke that Murray was being put on waivers. Gaudette is a right handed centre who will add some experience to the bottom six. While he hasn’t performed particularly well offensively in the past two seasons, he did have a strong 33 point campaign for the Canucks in 2019-20. Having him join the Sens when his first game will be against the team that drafted him is a fun, little coincidence.

If you ask me, there aren’t many - if any - players who’s return to the lineup will have as much of an impact as that of Batherson. Batherson currently leads the Sens in point production with 16 points in 14 games this season. The last time Batherson was in the lineup was also, not coincidentally, Ottawa’s last win where Batherson potted two goals and added two helpers. Since then, the Sens have lost five straight, been shut out twice and only managed to average two goals per game as a team.

Here are the lines from morning skate:

Game Notes:

  • Filip Gustavsson will be getting the start for the Senators tonight. While the bar hasn’t been set particularly high by his competition, Gus has easily been Ottawa’s most steady goaltender. He has a 0.907 SV% this season and a 0.903 SV% over his last four starts - which is heavily weighed down by the barn burner in Colorado that saw him allow six goals.
  • In a curious move, it would appear DJ Smith has moved Tim Stützle back to the wing for tonight’s game, as he skated on a line with Nick Paul (C) and Connor Brown (RW) this morning. Stützle has easily been one of the brighter spots during this recent losing streak and his play down the middle has been solid.
  • Tyler Ennis will draw out of the lineup tonight for Gaudette’s debut, while Chris Tierney has shifted to the wing on the fourth line.
  • Important game notes from Sens Media Legend Ian Mendes:

Stats Preview

Player Stats

Game 25 Ottawa Senators Tampa Bay Lightning
Game 25 Ottawa Senators Tampa Bay Lightning
Category Player # Player #
Goals Josh Norris 11 Steven Stamkos 13
Assists Drake Batherson 13 Victor Hedman 22
Points Drake Batherson 21 Steven Stamkos 32
Shots Josh Norris, Brady Tkachuk 65 Victor Hedman 69
Time on Ice/GP Thomas Chabot 27:26 Victor Hedman 25:00

Team Stats

Game 26 Ottawa Senators Florida Panthers
Game 26 Ottawa Senators Florida Panthers
Category # Rank # Rank
Goals/GP 2.64 26th 3.7 2nd
Goals Against/GP 3.72 32nd 2.7 12th
Shots/GP 28.4 29th 36.1 1st
Shots Against/GP 34.1 30th 30.6 11th
Powerplay % 19.10% 15th 18.80% 17th
Penalty Kill % 75.30% 27th 81.00% 16th
Corsi % (5v5 SVA) 44.81% 31st 57.13% 1st
xGF % (5v5 SVA) 45.20% 31st 56.26% 1st