Thanks to the Washington Capitals’ victory yesterday, we can finally say for certain that the Ottawa Senators (26-37-6), for the 5th straight year, will miss the playoffs. There are, of course, reasons for optimism going into next season, but the primary concern is that this season has trended in the same direction as 2021 — they got off to a nightmarish start and picked up their play later on.
Until they can translate their improved play into some early success next year, I fully expect there to be some skepticism, especially if they’re content to stick with the same group without making an upgrade or two.
For now, the team is enjoying a three-game winning streak and is looking to make it four in a row, for the first time since...March 8th, 2017? My goodness.
This will be a more difficult game for two reasons. Firstly, their opponents are the Nashville Predators (40-25-4), who are a much better team than the likes of Detroit and Montreal, and feature a mix of sturdy team defense, lethal shooting talent, and a brick wall who’s managed to convince everyone he’s a human being called Jusse Saros.
Secondly, the Sens will likely be without Drake Batherson and Dylan Gambrell thanks to a non-COVID illness, as well as Tim Stützle, whose cholesterol is through the roof after taking in too much salt from the crowd at the Bell Centre on Tuesday.
DJ Smith - Both Batherson and Gambrell are sick and doubtful with non-covid illness. Stutzle is also a game time decision. Stutzle limped to the bus after the game in Montreal and not feeling good today after the knee he took in Montreal.— TSN 1200 (@TSN1200) April 7, 2022
Sens morning lines vs Nashville. (Batherson and Gambrell not on the ice)— TSN 1200 (@TSN1200) April 7, 2022
Tkachuk Norris Joseph
Formenton Stützle Brown
Kelly White Gaudette
Mete Tierney Watson
Del Zotto Hamonic
Forsberg-in starters end
- Mark Borowiecki will play his first game in Ottawa since signing with the Predators after the 2019-20 season. Over the course of his career, the local product went from a consistent target of criticism from a large group of Sens fans to a beloved veteran, in large part due to a career season under D.J. Smith, his incredible personality, and support of the LGBTQ+ community both inside and outside of hockey. This season, he has 3 assists in 45 games with Nashville.
- Between Batherson’s point-per-game campaign, Josh Norris’ 46-goal pace, and Mathieu Joseph challenging Andy Sutton and Ales Hemsky for the honour of being the best trade deadline acquisition in franchise history, one player whose offensive contributions have flown under the radar is Brady Tkachuk. Sens fans know very well what makes the captain a special player, from the relationship he’s built with the community, to his memorable media moments, but I was unsure whether or not his production would live up to the seven-year, $8.2M/year contract he signed at the beginning of the year. Well, he’s currently leading the Senators in scoring, with 52 points in 66 games, and is trailing only Norris in goals, with 24 (both career highs). A 64-point pace over a full season in conjunction with everything else he brings on and off the ice, absolutely makes that deal worth it.
- I looked up Roman Josi’s stats for the first time this season — I knew he had to be around at least a point-per-game given he’s the favourite for the Norris Trophy, but 84 points (including 19 goals) in 67 games is just ridiculous. He also leads his team in shots on goal, an indicator of just how much the Predators rely on their blueline for offense.
- The Senators in comparison, don’t get a ton of production from their defense corps, and Thomas Chabot’s season-ending injury only makes it more difficult. Michael Del Zotto is a player who’s stepping up in Chabot’s absence, with 4 assists in 7 games since his stint with Belleville, and 10 points in 17 games overall.
- Tonight’s game will start at 7:00 PM EST and is available on TSN5, RDS2, and TSN 1200.
- Stats are retrieved from NHL.com, except for Corsi and Expected Goals (adjusted for score effects and home-ice advantage) from NaturalStatTrick.com.
|Penalty Kill %||80.6||12th||79.6||15th|
|Corsi % (5v5 SVA)||48.09||21st||49.74||16th|
|xGF % (5v5 SVA)||47.31||22nd||50.30||16th|
|Goals||Josh Norris||30||Filip Forsberg||38|
|Assists||Thomas Chabot, Brady Tkachuk, Tim Stutzle||28||Roman Josi||65|
|Points||Brady Tkachuk||52||Roman Josi||84|
|Shots||Brady Tkachuk||237||Roman Josi||236|
|Time on Ice/GP||Thomas Chabot||26:23||Roman Josi||25:17|