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Game 43 Preview and Open Thread: Ottawa Senators @ St. Louis Blues

Shooting and goaltending need to drastically improve to get a win today.

NHL: Ottawa Senators at St. Louis Blues Jeff Le-USA TODAY Sports

Even after the Ottawa Senators used a 12-5-1 stretch to erase another poor start to the season, it still appeared that the team had been quite unlucky in terms of shooting percentage. I assumed that it would trend upward as the season continued and that the team could maintain a decent, if not similar record.

Instead, not only has the team's finishing gotten even worse, but the goaltending has regressed significantly. Logically, it’s only a matter of time before pucks start going in, not just for the struggling top-six forwards (Tim Stützle and Claude Giroux are the only two who’ve been good in this regard), but for some of the bottom-six as well (Parker Kelly had 7 in 41 games last year), but until that happens, simply outshooting teams as they’ve done throughout the year is turning into old news.

Fortunately, tonight’s opponents are the St. Louis Blues, who have had their fair share of struggles as well.

While they have a couple of young superstars in Jordan Kyrou and Robert Thomas, as well as a much more productive bottom-six than Ottawa, the Blues allow more goals and shots against per game, get fewer quality scoring opportunities, and are outclassed in terms of both special teams. Even though they convert on more of their chances than the Sens (like literally every other team in the league), they’re still one of the weaker teams leaguewide in this regard.

You would think a 7-0 loss to the Colorado Avalanche would be more embarrassing than the 4-2 loss St. Louis recently suffered to the Tampa Bay Lightning, and you’d be right. So, let’s see if the Senators can bounce back tonight!

Game Notes

  • With yet another injury to Artem Zub, Jacob Bernard-Docker has been called up from Belleville. The 2018 26th-overall selection has 1 assist in 9 games for the Sens this season, and just 2 assists in 13 AHL games, but that hasn’t stopped him from performing as one of Troy Mann’s most trusted blueliners when he’s been in the lineup.
  • Both teams will be without top-six forwards tonight — Josh Norris is getting closer to a return from a shoulder injury, while Vladimir Tarasenko is out with a hand injury.
  • Other injuries for Ottawa include Tyler Motte, Nikita Zaitsev, and Mathieu Joseph, however, head coach D.J. Smith has indicated that Joseph could return tonight. He hinted prior to the 8-4 loss to the Seattle Kraken that Joseph could become a healthy scratch, but you have to imagine his line of thinking has changed since then. Even though Joseph only has 9 points in 25 games, that pace is still 9 times better than Dylan Gambrell’s.
  • It’s an 8:00 PM EST start tonight, and the game is available on Sportsnet and TSN 1200.


Player Stats

Game 44 Ottawa Senators Pittsburgh Penguins
Game 44 Ottawa Senators Pittsburgh Penguins
Category Player # Player #
Goals Tim Stutzle 19 Sidney Crosby 21
Assists Brady Tkachuk 27 Sidney Crosby 28
Points Brady Tkachuk 42 Sidney Crosby 49
Shots Brady Tkachuk 183 Rikard Rakell 133
Time on Ice/GP Thomas Chabot 26:00 Kris Letang 24:32

Team Stats

Game 44 Ottawa Senators Pittsburgh Penguins
Game 44 Ottawa Senators Pittsburgh Penguins
Category # Rank # Rank
Goals/GP 2.91 25th 3.21 13th
Goals Against/GP 3.23 19th 3.02 16th
Shots/GP 33.3 6th 32.4 11th
Shots Against/GP 31.8 19th 33.4 26th
Powerplay % 26.4 6th 20.6 23rd
Penalty Kill % 82.2 8th 83.2 4th
Corsi % (5v5 SVA) 51.84 10th 50.04 19th
xGF % (5v5 SVA) 52.09 12th 52.52 10th