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Game 58 Preview + Open Thread: Chicago @ Ottawa Senators

Sens look to continue their recent strong play

Ottawa Senators v Chicago Blackhawks Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

After a disheartening stretch of poor hockey, capped by an 8-5 thrashing at the hands of the Arizona Coyotes (?!), the Ottawa Senators have put together a string of three consecutive solid performances and come into tonight’s game against Chicago playing some of their best hockey of the season. It, of course, helps that the Sens are approaching a fully healthy line-up, but it has also been very encouraging to see the team’s cohesive approach to defense. Vegas, St. Louis, and Seattle all went long periods without so much as a shot on net. As the Sens’ schedule eases up for the next few weeks, it would be great to see a continuation of their defensive dominance.

Speaking of weaker opponents, Chicago kind of stinks. Good, couldn’t have happened to a worse franchise.

If the Sens want to prevail today, they’ll need to do what every Chicago opponent has attempted for the last few years: shut down Patrick Kane. Kane’s line with Dylan Strome and Alex DeBrincat does almost all of the heavy lifting for Chicago’s offense. An aging Jonathan Toews is a shadow of his former self, so there’s not much else going on offensively. With the last change, I’d expect the Zaitsev-Holden pairing to be out there a lot against Chicago’s top offensive trio.

Here’s how the Sens are expected to line up for tonight’s game:

Tkachuk - Norris - Brown
Formenton - Stützle - Gaudette
Paul - White - Sanford
Kelly - Gambrell - Watson

Chbabot - Zub
Holden - Zaitsev
Brannstrom - Brown
Forsberg (starter)

Game Notes:

  • Both Thomas Chabot and Connor Brown were held out of yesterday’s practice. DJ Smith said in media availability this morning that both were game-time decisions but likely to play. Victor Mete and Tyler Ennis are waiting in the wings should the need arise. Here’s the coach’s full availability:
  • Anton Forsberg gets his fourth consecutive start, and his stellar play of late has a lot of folks wondering what his future with the team might be. Pierre Dorion basically ruled out the possibility of his being traded during a media session on Friday, so we should expect the Swede to see a good chunk of the games the rest of the way.
  • Chicago made two big off-season bets: trading for and then signing Seth Jones to a huge 8 year, $76M extension and trading for Marc-Andre Fleury. The Jones trade and contract look like an unmitigated disaster, as Jones has struggled mightily. Fleury, meanwhile, has been solid if unspectacular. It seems quite possible he will be dealt by next Monday’s deadline.
  • Puck drop is 7pm ET, and you can watch on Sportsnet or follow along on TSN1200 radio.


As usual, all stats are courtesy of and Natural Stat Trick:

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