Almost exactly 10 years ago today — on February 7th, 2011 — the Ottawa Senators suffered a 4-2 loss at the hands of the Vancouver Canucks, seeing their losing streak extended to 10 games in the process. Wholesale changes soon followed, with Mike Fisher being traded three days later, with Chris Kelly and Jarkko Ruutu not long after.
Tonight, the current iteration of the Senators (1-8-1) will look to avoid a 10-game losing streak of their own, in the season’s first battle with the North division-leading Montreal Canadiens (7-1-2).
With only one regulation loss on their record, the Canadiens are red-hot. They’re near the top of the league in Corsi% and xGF%, and with a goal differential of 17, they are both scoring at a high level, and keeping pucks out of their own net in the process. Head coach Claude Julien will send Carey Price to the crease, tonight.
The Senators, on the other hand, are shaking up their skater group in an attempt to stop this spiral. Defenceman Braydon Coburn was waived yesterday, and assigned to the taxi squad after clearing. Johnathon Aspirot was sent down to Belleville, and Erik Brannstrom was recalled to the NHL taxi squad, and then to the main roster today. Expect him to see his first action of the season, tonight.
It also appears that Alex Galchenyuk could play his third game of the season, with Cedric Paquette drawing out.
Of course, we’ll have no idea who DJ Smith intends to start in net until much closer to puck drop, but it seems likely that we’ll see Matt Murray after Marcus Hogberg gave up four goals on 25 shots to Edmonton the other night.
Expect the Ottawa lineup to look something like this:
Paul - White - Batherson
Stützle - Stepan - C. Brown
Galchenyuk - Tierney - Watson
Chabot - Zaitsev
Reilly - Zub
Brannstrom - Gudbranson
|Goals||Tim Stützle||4||Nikolaj Ehlers||9|
|Assists||Nikita Zaitsev||6||Mark Scheifele||12|
|Points||Brady Tkachuk, Josh Norris||8||Mark Scheifele||17|
|Shots||Brady Tkachuk||62||Nikolaj Ehlers||46|
|Time on Ice/GP||Thomas Chabot||25:02||Josh Morissey||23:58|
|Penalty Kill %||74.1||25th||80.6||15th|
|Corsi % (5v5 SVA)||48.46||19th||48.2||21st|
|xGF % (5v5 SVA)||48.63||21st||43.46||30th|
- It’s a Reverse Retro night for Montreal, so we’ll get to see those blue jerseys. I think I like them...?
- Fans should be really excited to get a look at Erik Brannstrom, tonight. He seems highly motivated to cement himself as an NHL player, and this blue line desperately needs his injection of speed and skill.
- The goaltending decision will be interesting, tonight. Neither Murray nor Hogberg can get anything going, but they’re going to have to if Ottawa wants to win this game. The Canadiens are on fire.
- Keep an eye on Tim Stützle. I find it a bit puzzling that he’s not being assigned complimentary linemates, but if he can score some points with Derek Stepan and Connor Brown, that would be might impressive. He’s looking more and more comfortable with each passing contest.
- Chris Tierney being demoted to the fourth line is...something. Maybe Smith is trying to send a message to his group, after saying he needed more out of his veterans.