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Game 39 Preview and Open Thread: Ottawa Senators vs Seattle Kraken

Can they stay perfect in the year 2023?

Ottawa Senators v Seattle Kraken Photo by Abbie Parr/NHLI via Getty Images

After a three-day break, the Ottawa Senators (18-17-3) will look to win their third-straight game, continuing to chip away at their horrendous start to the season. Now above .500 for the first time since October, they’ll look to close the gap on a wildcard berth tonight against the Seattle Kraken (21-12-4), who have taken a large step forward since their inaugural season.

This matchup is one of the more interesting ones for me since, while the Senators have received solid goaltending from both Cam Talbot and Anton Forsberg, they’re the worst team in the league at converting expected goals into actual goals. Contrast them to the Kraken, who have overcome the two-headed guppy of Philipp Grubauer and Martin Jones with scoring efficiency, ranking 4th in goals per game despite their shots per game only ranking 22nd.

A Sens victory tonight will see them five points back of the New York Islanders for the final wildcard spot in the East. With teams such as the Islanders, Detroit Red Wings, Florida Panthers, and Pittsburgh Penguins struggling of late, a door has opened up, and the Sens have an opportunity in January to walk through and close it behind them.

Game Notes:

  • Another stark contrast between these two clubs has been the manner in which the offense has been provided. Ottawa features a core of five top-line forwards hovering around a point-per-game pace, however, they lack scoring depth. Shane Pinto, who I feel is doing a better job of late on the second line, still has 17 points in 38 games, a lower-scoring pace than Seattle’s eight-most productive forward, Brandon Tanev.
  • Ottawa’s already dominant power play should look even more dangerous tonight given the opportunity, as Seattle’s 31st-ranked penalty kill has an atrocious 68.9% (sooooo close) success rate. And yes, they’re 31st. There’s an NHL team with an even worse penalty kill.
  • Tim Stützle has been Ottawa’s best player this season, and he’s stood out even more as of late, if that’s even possible, with 5 goals and 3 assists in his last 6 games since returning from injury.
  • Brady Tkachuk, Ottawa’s chosen representative for the All-Star Game, is due for a big performance. He’s got just 3 assists in his last 7 games, and you just know that pace isn't going to last for very long.
  • We’ve got a 7:00 PM EST puck drop tonight, and the game is available on Sportsnet One and TSN 1200.

Stats:

Team Stats

Game 40 Ottawa Senators Nashville Predators
Game 40 Ottawa Senators Nashville Predators
Category # Rank # Rank
Goals/GP 3.05 21st 2.79 26th
Goals Against/GP 3.18 17th 3.00 16th
Shots/GP 33.0 7th 30.6 20th
Shots Against/GP 32.0 21st 34.1 29th
Powerplay % 28.1 4th 18.0 28th
Penalty Kill % 82.2 6th 79.4 14th
Corsi % (5v5 SVA) 51.06 16th 49.36 21st
xGF % (5v5 SVA) 51.12 16th 49.44 20th

Player Stats

Game 40 Ottawa Senators Nashville Predators
Game 40 Ottawa Senators Nashville Predators
Category Player # Player #
Goals Tim Stützle 18 Filip Forsberg 15
Assists Brady Tkachuk 26 Roman Josi 22
Points Brady Tkachuk 40 Filip Forsberg 34
Shots Brady Tkachuk 169 Roman Josi 161
Time on Ice/GP Thomas Chabot 26:12 Roman Josi 25:12