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Game 78 Preview and Open Thread: Ottawa Senators @ Columbus Blue Jackets

Get ready for regular-season victory 1,001 tonight!

Columbus Blue Jackets v Ottawa Senators Photo by André Ringuette/NHLI via Getty Images

Coming off one of their most entertaining wins of the season (and the 1000th regular-season win in franchise history) against Vancouver, the Ottawa Senators continue their road trip tonight, against the Columbus Blue Jackets in the deciding game of a three-game season series.

The Jackets made a couple of shrewd acquisitions this past offseason, including 2018 8th overall pick Adam Boqvist from Chicago, and 2016 13th overall pick Jake Bean from Carolina, but it’s all been in service of an underwhelming season in which they’ve been outperformed by the Senators in almost every category, despite being ahead in the standings.

Tim Stützle briefly left the ice in that 4-3 shootout win against the Canucks, and wasn’t at 100 percent yesterday. If the team feels he’s not ready for tonight, they’ll have to call up a player from Belleville. On that subject, Zach Senyshyn was re-assigned yesterday, and Mark Kastelic was brought up for another stint. It’s a huge opportunity to prove he’s a legitimate option as the 4C next season.

Ottawa may not be the only team missing a top defenseman tonight. Zach Werenski, who leads the Jackets in goals (11), assists (36), and time on ice (25:42/game), suffered an upper-body injury against Anaheim on Sunday, and will likely be out of the lineup.

Game Notes:

  • Jackets forward Jakub Voracek’s stat line has been interesting this season — 56 points in 74 games, but only 5 goals. He’s never been one of the league’s premier snipers, shooting above 10% only twice in his 14-year NHL career, but it’s still very rare to see that kind of production from a forward.
  • Prior to his two-goal performance against Vancouver, Alex Formenton had one goal and no assists in his last 15 games. With 17 goals on the year, a 20-goal campaign is on the table for the speedster.
  • Filip Gustavsson will get his second straight start tonight. The 23-year-old stopped 34 of 37 against Vancouver and will look for another strong performance tonight. With Anton Forsberg locked in as the starter, and Matt Murray performing as an acceptable backup when healthy, Gustavsson will need to really make these last few games count if he wants to land a full-time NHL job next season.
  • Puck drop is scheduled for 7:00 PM EST, and the game is available on TSN5, RDS, and TSN1200.

Stats:

  • Stats are derived from NHL.com, except for Corsi and Expected Goals (5-on-5, adjusted for score effects and home-ice advantage), which are derived from NaturalStatTrick.com.

Team Stats

Game 78 Ottawa Senators Columbus Blue Jackets
Game 78 Ottawa Senators Columbus Blue Jackets
Category # Rank # Rank
Goals/GP 2.70 26th 3.16 13th
Goals Against/GP 3.23 23rd 3.68 29th
Shots/GP 30.1 20th 29.9 21st
Shots Against/GP 33.2 24th 35.3 31st
Powerplay % 17.7 17th 14.4 23rd
Penalty Kill % 83.4 14th 81.9 19th
Corsi % (5v5 SVA) 47.78 21st 47.06 25th
xGF % (5v5 SVA) 47.19 24th 44.73 29th

Player Stats

Game 80 Ottawa Senators New Jersey Devils
Game 80 Ottawa Senators New Jersey Devils
Category Player # Player #
Goals Josh Norris 34 Jack Hughes 26
Assists Brady Tkachuk 33 Jesper Bratt 45
Points Brady Tkachuk 62 Jesper Bratt 70
Shots Brady Tkachuk 276 Jesper Bratt 190
Time on Ice/GP Thomas Chabot 26:16 Damon Severson 23:36