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Game 32 Preview and Open Thread: Ottawa Senators @ Winnipeg Jets

The battle of canada’s unloved children resumes

NHL: APR 10 Jets at Senators Photo by Richard A. Whittaker/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Fresh off splitting a weekend set of games with the Detroit Red Wings and Minnesota Wild, the Ottawa Senators are in Winnipeg tonight to face the Jets. Winnipeg’s 20-10-1 record qualifies as one of the biggest surprises of this first part of the season, and they’re not to be under-estimated.

Game Notes:

  • The Sens should come into this game feeling pretty good having split their back-to-back over the weekend considering the number of key- and role-players missing from their lineup (Jacob Bernard-Docker, Mathieu Joseph, Josh Norris, Tim Stützle, and Artem Zub).
  • The Jets, meanwhile lost their Sunday matchup against Seattle but, like Ottawa, have six wins in their last ten and a litany of injuries as well (Mason Appleton, Nikolaj Ehlers, Ville Heinola, Saku Maenalanen, Nate Schmidt, Logan Stanley, and Blake Wheeler).
  • While I don’t want to downplay the talent that the Jets do have (they present a very serious threat in their division) I think their position is reflective of where Ottawa could be with a few more lucky bounces here and there. The two teams are worlds apart in the standings but when you break down the numbers, Winnipeg doesn’t have a huge advantage at the margins—goaltending notwithstanding.
  • About that goaltending, Connor Hellebuyck looks like a Vezina-calibre netminder again this season. While I hate to say Ottawa’s fate in this game comes down to who starts for the Jets, you can bet the moneyline will reflect whether Ottawa sees Hellebuyck or David Rittich. Hellebuyck didn’t take the morning skate, so as of this writing it seems possible he will not be the starter.
  • I should clarify that on paper, with injuries to both teams noted, the Jets still have the statistical advantage in this game. On top of their elite five-on-five goaltending, they can also outscore Ottawa at even strength. Winnipeg also possesses good penalty kill shot-suppression and they don’t take a lot of penalties — which could be an issue for the Sens’ offensive hopes.
  • Ottawa meanwhile has rode their powerplay this far in December and will need to keep it rolling until the likes of Norris and Stützle can return if they want to hover around .500 for any period of time. Ottawa’s goaltenders have served as the Senators’ best penalty-killers, and the five-on-five rates remain decent despite the very noticeable aforementioned absences down the middle and on defence.
  • Ottawa has also done a real 180 in terms of drawing more penalties than they take (possibly a chicken-and-egg question with their overall team success) and special teams have made the most of it.
  • In summary: Go Sens Go.

Expected and Actual Goals

Team 5V5 xGF/60 5V5 Sh% 5V5 xGA/60 5V5 Sv% PP xGF/60 PP Sh% PK xGA/60 PK Sv%
Team 5V5 xGF/60 5V5 Sh% 5V5 xGA/60 5V5 Sv% PP xGF/60 PP Sh% PK xGA/60 PK Sv%
Ottawa 2.89 6.75 2.66 91.71 9.76 17.89 8.59 88.27
Winnipeg 2.62 8.39 2.65 93.49 9.31 15.69 7.74 87.90

Lines from Last Game:

DJ Smith said no changes from last game besides in net where Talbot will start during his media availability this morning, so here’s how the Sens should line ‘em up:

Ottawa Senators:

Tkachuk - Brassard - Giroux
DeBrincat - Pinto - Batherson
Motte - Kastelic - Watson
Kelly - Gambrell - Chartier

Chabot - Zaitsev
Sanderson - Hamonic
Brännström - Holden

Winnipeg Jets:

Perfetti - Scheifele - Kuhlman
Connor - Dubois - Gagner
Barron - Lowry - Harkins
Gustafsson - Stenlund - Jonsson-Fjällby

Morrissey - DeMelo
Dillon - Pionk
Samberg - Capobianco

Stats:

Players

Game 31 Ottawa Senators Boston Bruins
Game 31 Ottawa Senators Boston Bruins
Category Player # Player #
Goals Claude Giroux 14 David Pastrnak 24
Assists Brady Tkachuk 24 David Pastrnak 23
Points Brady Tkachuk 37 David Pastrnak 47
Shots Brady Tkachuk 143 David Pastrnak 168
Time on Ice/GP Thomas Chabot 25:58 Hampus Lindholm 23:52

Teams

Game 31 Ottawa Senators Boston Bruins
Game 31 Ottawa Senators Boston Bruins
Category # Rank # Rank
Goals/GP 3.03 23rd 3.88 2nd
Goals Against/GP 3.21 17th 2.18 1st
Shots/GP 33.2 7th 34.6 3rd
Shots Against/GP 32.4 21st 29.4 9th
Powerplay % 27.9 4th 29.3 3rd
Penalty Kill % 80.0 13th 84.7 3rd
Corsi % (5v5 SVA) 51.28 15th 53.81 5th
xGF % (5v5 SVA) 50.78 17th 56.05 3rd

Where to watch/listen:

Watch on RDS, TSN5 or listen TSN1200 @8PM EST