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Game 35 Preview + Open Thread: Ottawa Senators @ Columbus Blue Jackets

It’s been a while....

Ottawa Senators v Columbus Blue Jackets Photo by Kirk Irwin/Getty Images

On the heels of a tough 3-2 overtime loss to the Washington Capitals last night, the Ottawa Senators roll into Columbus to face the Blue Jackets tonight. If it feels like it’s been a while since the Sens were matched up against this particular opponent, that’s because their last encounter was February 24th, 2020 — almost two years ago! In that time, a lot has changed for both teams but maybe especially so Columbus who famously traded Pierre-Luc Dubois for Patrik Laine, and then parted ways with John Tortorella at the end of last season. Don’t be too surprised if the two teams start out tonight’s affair a bit cautiously as they feel each other out a bit.

DJ Smith announced that Anton Forsberg would be tonight’s starter in his morning press availability. There will also apparently be a couple of other line-up changes but those likely won’t be known until warm-ups. I’d expect Tyler Ennis to rejoin the line-up at the very least.

Game Notes:

  • Smith said this morning that the first period against Washington last night was the “perfect road period”. I’m not sure I’d agree that only getting three shots on net would constitute perfection, but there’s no doubt that Ottawa played some smothering defense and were full credit for keeping the Caps off the scoreboard in the opening frame. The neutral zone defensive play, in particular, was a noteworthy positive.
  • There has already been plenty of discussion of Josh Norris’ giveaway that led to the overtime goal against, but I’ll just add that it strikes me as simply a bad bounce. Norris was trying to play a pass and hit Backstrom in the shin pads; he wasn’t attempting an unnecessary move or anything that merits further analysis. Sometimes, you don’t get the breaks.
  • In 2022, an 18-19-1 record just ain’t what it used to be: the Blue Jackets are 24th by PTS%, and their underlying metrics paint the picture of a team who deserves to be 24th. The defensive juggernauts of the Tortorella era this team is not.
  • That said, there are plenty of players on this Jackets team that can hurt you if you aren’t careful defensively; particularly Oliver Bjorkstrand and the aforementioned Laine.
  • Puck drop is 6pm ET, you can watch on TSN, TVAS, or follow along on TSN1200 radio.

Stats:

All stats are, as usual, courtesy of NHL.com and naturalstattrick.com:

Team Stats

Game 38 Ottawa Senators Anaheim Ducks
Game 38 Ottawa Senators Anaheim Ducks
Category # Rank # Rank
Goals/GP 2.81 21st 2.93 17th
Goals Against/GP 3.43 27th 2.83 15th
Shots/GP 30.2 20th 30.5 18th
Shots Against/GP 33.6 27th 33.1 26th
Powerplay % 18.5 20th 25.4 8th
Penalty Kill % 80.3 16th 83.0 9th
Corsi % (5v5 SVA) 46.34 30th 48.29 20th
xGF % (5v5 SVA) 46.44 24th 47.67 22nd

Player Stats

Game 42 Ottawa Senators Carolina Hurricanes
Game 42 Ottawa Senators Carolina Hurricanes
Category Player # Player #
Goals Josh Norris 18 Sebastian Aho 19
Assists Drake Batherson 21 Sebastian Aho 26
Points Drake Batherson 34 Sebastian Aho 45
Shots Brady Tkachuk 133 Andrei Svechnikov 130
Time on Ice/GP Thomas Chabot 27:08:00 Jaccob Slavin 23:51:00