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Game 45 Preview + Open Thread: Ottawa Senators @ Washington Capitals

One goal please, sir!

Ottawa Senators v Washington Capitals Photo by John McCreary/NHLI via Getty Images

The Ottawa Senators are playing a hockey game today. If that sentence seems familiar, it’s because the Sens are on their fifth game this week — and with the rush to finish the regular season after all of the various postponements, you can look forward to an incredible frequency of hockey in the weeks to come. This afternoon, the local heroes are in Washington to take on Alex Ovechkin and the Capitals.

The biggest storyline for Ottawa right now is whether they can break out of a goaless streak that’s hit 157:06 after being shut out again by the Boston Bruins yesterday. When Drake Batherson and Josh Norris went down with injuries in rapid succession, an already thin forward group was set to face a stiff challenge in the goal scoring department. The last two-and-a-half games have been a great illustration of what usually happens to a team that’s playing good, hard hockey but just doesn’t have enough scoring talent. Unfortunately for the Sens, when it comes to this sort of things the only way out is through. No one is going to feel sorry for you in the NHL.

Meanwhile, the Capitals have been scuffling a bit lately but are rarely challenged in the goal-scoring department. For the Ottawa to come out on top, they’ll need to contain the Caps’ potent attack.

Game Notes:

  • With the Sens traveling to Washington after yesterday’s game, we don’t have any line-up updates as of this writing. Given that the Sens have lost two straight, I’d expect there could be a change or two as DJ Smith might try to shake things up.
  • Austin Watson is facing a disciplinary hearing for this hit on Jack Ahcan in yesterday’s game. On the one hand, yes, it was a play that went badly and I don’t think Watson is going for anything overly malicious. On the other hand, the hit is late, and Ahcan (rightfully) isn’t expecting to get hit from the blindside after he’s released the puck. Watson shouldnt (and likely won’t) get punished too severely but if you go out of your way to throw a late hit and it goes bad, well there could be consequences. A short suspension, maybe a game or two, wouldn’t be unfair all told.
  • The Caps are just 3-4 in the seven games since the two teams last played each other on January 22nd. They’re so far out in front of the teams chasing them that it would take a monumental collapse to miss the play-offs, but the chances of finishing near the top of their division are dwindling. Are they real contenders anymore, or just retreads with a few aging stars?
  • One of the issues plaguing the Caps this season has been their surprisingly anemic power play. Looking at the personnel, it’s hard to imagine they’ll spend the whole year in the bottom ten but the Sens will be thankful to catch them while they’re scuffling
  • Puck drop is 12:30 ET, you can watch on Sportsnet One or listen on TSN1200

Statistics:

All stats are courtesy NHL.com and naturalstattrick.com:

Player Stats

Game 75 Ottawa Senators Seattle Kraken
Game 75 Ottawa Senators Seattle Kraken
Category Player # Player #
Goals Josh Norris 33 Jared McCann 25
Assists Tim Stützle 32 Yanni Gourde 26
Points Brady Tkachuk 59 Jared McCann, Yanni Gourde (tied) 43
Shots Brady Tkachuk 261 Jared McCann 174
Time on Ice/GP Thomas Chabot (inj.) 26:23 Adam Larsson 22:10

Team Stats

Game 75 Ottawa Senators Seattle Kraken
Game 75 Ottawa Senators Seattle Kraken
Category # Rank # Rank
Goals/GP 2.71 26th 2.57 29th
Goals Against/GP 3.23 23rd 3.47 24th
Shots/GP 30.3 20th 28.8 31st
Shots Against/GP 33.2 25th 29.1 5th
Powerplay % 19.7 21st 14.3 29th
Penalty Kill % 80.5 13th 75.1 26th
Corsi % (5v5 SVA) 47.91 21st 49.03 19th
xGF % (5v5 SVA) 47.10 24th 47.34 23rd