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Game #18 Preview and Open Thread: Ottawa Senators @ San Jose Sharks

The Sens are 1-0-0 when I write the preview this season. Do what you will with that information.

Dallas Stars v Ottawa Senators Photo by André Ringuette/NHLI via Getty Images

Ah, the California road trip. I remember during my first years as an avid fan of the Ottawa Senators, a three-game gauntlet that even the best east coast teams had better been prepared for. These days, not so much.

You’ve got the 11-8-2 Los Angeles Kings, ok fair enough, but I’m tilting my head looking at that -4 goal differential, which is actually worse than your 6-10-1 Ottawa Senators. This isn’t forced positivity, by the way, just cold, hard stats.

Then you’ve got the Anaheim Ducks, and if you’re not a fan of Ottawa’s rebuild, your jaw will drop when you see their numbers.

Vegas has been thrown into these annual trips as well, but they’re actually good, and that’s no fun to talk about.

Squarely in the middle are tonight’s opponents, the San Jose Sharks, performing as a winning team as former Sens captain Erik Karlsson had hoped. Hang on, I’m actually hearing now they’ve been just as bad as the rebuilding Senators in each of the past three seasons. What?!

Jokes aside, it’s definitely nice to see Karlsson’s return to form, and his performance so far has put him in conversations for the Norris trophy. Again, I think he’ll need the help of a couple of decent teammates to win it, which he doesn’t have, but that’s a conversation for another day.

Game Notes:

  • Head coach D.J. Smith’s availability can be found here. Thomas Chabot is still out, Jacob Bernard-Docker joins the IR with a high ankle sprain, and Shane Pinto will be a game-time decision. Expect Jacob Larsson to fill in on the blueline, and Mark Kastelic up front if necessary.
  • Leading the way offensively once again is captain Brady Tkachuk. He’s built on a strong finish to last season with a career offensive year — 7 goals and 14 assists in 17 games.
  • One player who’s greatly struggled as of late has been Drake Batherson. After scoring 11 points in his first 8 games, he’s only managed 3 in his last 9. The team just hasn’t been able to compensate for the loss of Josh Norris to get offense out of multiple lines on most nights. Whenever they do, it’s usually not enough to make up for lackluster defensive play.
  • Souls brave enough to watch tonight’s 10:30 PM EST game can do so on TSN5 and RDS. TSN 1200 live radio coverage is also available.

Stats:

Team Stats

Game 20 Ottawa Senators Los Angeles Kings
Game 20 Ottawa Senators Los Angeles Kings
Category # Rank # Rank
Goals/GP 3.15 16th 3.22 15th
Goals Against/GP 3.45 23rd 3.39 22nd
Shots/GP 33.2 7th 32.6 11th
Shots Against/GP 33.9 28th 29.3 7th
Powerplay % 24.0 9 20.5 19th
Penalty Kill % 79.0 16 73.3 23rd
Corsi % (5v5 SVA) 51.93 12th 54.70 7th
xGF % (5v5 SVA) 51.75 13th 52.64 8th

Player Stats

Game 20 Ottawa Senators Los Angeles Kings
Game 20 Ottawa Senators Los Angeles Kings
Category Player # Player #
Goals Brady Tkachuk/Claude Giroux/Tim Stützle/Shane Pinto 8 Gabriel Vilardi 11
Assists Brady Tkachuk 15 Kevin Fiala 15
Points Brady Tkachuk 23 Kevin Fiala 22
Shots Brady Tkachuk 88 Trevor Moore 73
Time on Ice/GP Thomas Chabot 25:41 Drew Doughty 26:15