After putting some wins together, I'll pat myself on the back for saying they had some winnable games even if I was wrong about where the wins would come, now Ottawa gets to play 2 of the top 5 teams in the league over their next 3 games. These games also show the incredible strength at the top fo this division as 3 of the top 5 teams stand between us and the playoffs and probably will for the next few years unfortunately, maybe iron sharpens iron?
Saturday December 11th, 1:00 vs Tampa Bay
Season record: 17-5-4, 3rd in Atlantic
Last 10: 8-1-1
Previous meetings this season: Nov 6th, 5-3 loss
Series record since 2019-20: 1-2-1
- Nikita Kucherov, Lower Body, LTIR
- Brayden Point, Upper Body, IR
- Eric Cernak, Lower Body, Day to Day
- Anthony Cirelli, Upper Body, Day to Day
- Gemel Smith, Lower Body, IR
No Kucherov, well Tampa proved they could survive that last year, next challenge was going to be losing their entire 3rd line which was key to their cup runs and Brayden Point and still being one of the best teams in the league, seems unfair to me but whatever. With Alex Killorn (23 points in 26 games), Victor Hedman (27 in 26), Ondrej Palat (18 in 26), and Anthony Cirelli (17 in 25) all producing at career clips I'm starting to think they have a secret factory for producing great players. Oh, I forgot some guy named Steven Stamkos who is a lock to make team Canada who had 452 career goals and 898 points, so odds are he'll hit 900 against us at some point this week.
In case you think maybe we can match them goal for goal, I wouldn't count on it with Andrei Vasilevsky who I would say is by far the best goalie over the last 4 years having finished as a Vezina finalist the last 4 seasons and is posting the best stats of his career with a GAA of 2.17 and .927 save percentage. Scoring is down around the league with Vasilevsky outside the top 7 in both categories but if I had to place a bet guys like Tristian Jarry, James Reimer, Frederik Andersen and Jonathan Quick will regress for various reasons.
Some young names to watch on the roster include Cal Foote on defence, son of Adam if you're about to look that up, Taylor Raddysh is getting top line minutes while playoff hero Ross Colton is centering the 2nd line with Matthieu Joseph on his wing. If the Sens are going to have a chance it could be special teams where the Lightning are middle of the pack on both units but overall are in the top quarter of the league for goals and goals allowed per game.
Tuesday December 14th, 7:00 @ FLorida
Season record: 17-4-4, 2nd in Atlantic
Last 10: 7-2-1
Previous meetings this season: None
Series record since 2019-20:
- Noel Acciari, Undisclsoed, LTIR
- Mason Marchment, Upper Body, IR
- Markus Nutivarra, Undisclosed, LTIR
For a team that started the year 10-0-1 I'll conside them "cold" having only gone 7-7 over their last 14. I was honestly a little suprised to see just how well Jonathan Huberdeau has been performing points wise with 30 already this year. He;s been hot lately with points in 10 of ll games including a 5 point night against Buffalo last Thursday. With Aleksander Barkov and Anthony Duclair back int eh lineup after recent injuries the top 6 for Florida should be back up to full speed. Speaking of Duclair he as 17 points with 13 of them at even strenght and points in 13 of 19 games as he looks comfortable in his new home.
On defence the top pairing of Aaron Ekblad and Mackenzie Weager has what might be a pair of Canadian olympians, Weager is much more of a long shot but Ekblad could end up on the top pairing. Radko Gudas, who will be looking to hit everything that moves, and Gustav Forsling provide a defensively strong second pairing. Florida is a team that even with a goalie making 10 million and a top prospect rookie backup are one of 10 teams not to post a shutout. The pair have been close in appearances, but Bobrovsky has16 starts to only 9 for Spencer Knight. Both have GAA under 3 and save percentages above .900 but Bobrovsky has better stats all around and has helped calm the waters with his massive contract in dollars and length.
Thursday December 16th, 7:00 @ Tampa Bay
*see preview above*