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Game 21 Preview and Open Thread: Ottawa Senators @ Los Angeles Kings

Brady Tkachuk faces Brendan Lemieux on the one year anniversary of The Bite!

NHL: NOV 11 Kings at Senators Photo by Richard A. Whittaker/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Exactly one year ago today, the Ottawa Senators wrapped up their annual west coast swing with a visit to the Los Angeles Kings. They began that game a desperate team, their season already all but over after a disastrous start. They left battered, bruised... and bitten.

Brady Tkachuk and Brendan Lemieux have not met on the ice since that night. It seems fitting, then, that the much-anticipated rematch would happen on the one-year anniversary of one of the funniest things that has ever happened to this team.

Let’s revisit that moment, in case you need a refresher:

The situation is depressingly similar one year later, with Ottawa only marginally better than they were last year and once again in need of a win after a poor start. The Kings, meanwhile, look like they’re ahead of schedule in their rebuild, sitting third in the pacific.

The good news is that the Sens are coming off a dominant win over the Ducks, helped by the return of their first pairing. Are the Ducks just that bad, or have the Sens actually turned a corner?

More importantly, though, will anyone get bitten tonight?

Talbot will start in net. The Sens didn’t hold a morning skate today, but these were the lines from yesterday’s practice. Apparently Holden and Thomson were rotating on the 3rd pairing, so don’t read too much into Thomson being the 7th defenseman. D.J. Smith said this morning that a few guys are a bit banged up so the final lineup decisions will be made after the warmup.

Game Notes:

  • A bit of optimism heading into this matchup: Friday’s win over the Ducks was the first game since the October 27th loss to the Minnesota Wild where the Sens had both Chabot and Zub in the lineup. There are lots of factors we can point to as to why the team has been losing so much, but it’s worth noting that that entire losing streak happened with at least half of their top pairing out. Maybe both players being healthy can help turn things around.
  • Captain Brady Tkachuk is currently sitting at 98 career goals. It would be incredibly funny if he scored his 100th goal right in front of Brendan Lemieux on the one-year anniversary of The Bite, and that makes me think he’s going to do it. Lock in that prediction.
  • Shane Pinto has cooled off a bit since his red-hot start, with only one assist in his last 7 games. It would be nice to see him get back to his goalscoring ways in Norris’s absence.
  • On the other side of the spectrum, Tim Stützle is quietly scoring at a point-per-game pace, and now tied for the team lead in goals. He also has some of the best underlying numbers on the team, and in a small sample size has been one of the team’s most effective penalty killers. He didn’t start the season quite as well as we may have hoped, so it’s very encouraging to see him already taking off.
  • One thing to keep an eye on tonight will be Jake Sanderson’s ice time. The rookie played somewhat sheltered minutes before Chabot’s injury forced him into the #1 role. He played 24:00 against the Ducks, though, second on the team just behind Chabot’s 25:01. That’s the arrangement I think a lot of us were expecting, so we’ll see if this keeps up.

Stats

Team Stats

Game 31 Ottawa Senators Minnesota Wild
Game 31 Ottawa Senators Minnesota Wild
Category # Rank # Rank
Goals/GP 3.17 16th 3.1 18th
Goals Against/GP 3.13 17th 2.87 T-13th
Shots/GP 33.6 6th 31.2 18th
Shots Against/GP 32.8 25th 29.4 8th
Powerplay % 28.8 4th 25.5 10th
Penalty Kill % 79.7 12th 79.6 13th
Corsi % (5v5 SVA) 52.3 6th 50.70 15th
xGF % (5v5 SVA) 52.21 11th 51.93 12th

Player Stats

Game 31 Ottawa Senators Minnesota Wild
Game 31 Ottawa Senators Minnesota Wild
Category Player # Player #
Goals Brady Tkachuk/Claude Giroux 13 Kirill Kaprizov 18
Assists Brady Tkachuk 22 Kirill Kaprizov/Mats Zuccarello 21
Points Brady Tkachuk 35 Kirill Kaprizov 39
Shots Brady Tkachuk 131 Kirill Kaprizov 124
Time on Ice/GP Thomas Chabot 25:52 Jonas Brodin 22:!1

The game starts at 10:30 PM Eastern. You can watch live on TSN5 or RDS2, or listen on TSN 1200.