Game 21: Ottawa Senators @ Vancouver Canucks

The Ottawa Senators are surging again and will look for their fourth straight win tonight when they visit the western conference champions, the Vancouver Canucks. Ottawa has been definitely a streak team, going 7-2-0 in games following a win, and 3-6-1 in games following a loss. They have yet to have a losing streak of less than two games, and have only had one winning streak of less than three games.

Now, let's just get it out there, Sidney Crosby will return tomorrow night against the Islanders. The Senators next game will be Friday in Pittsburgh. Click here to talk about Crosby. Let's try and not mention that for the rest of the night.

There are no changes, which means David Rundblad will be a healthy scratch for the fourth straight game. Here are the lines from Sylvain St-Laurent.

Colin Greening - Jason Spezza - Milan Michalek
Nick Foligno - Stéphane Da Costa - Daniel Alfredsson
Kaspars Daugavins - Zack Smith - Erik Condra
Zenon Konopka - Jesse Winchester - Bobby Butler

Sergei Gonchar - Chris Phillips
Jared Cowen - Brian Lee

Craig Anderson (starter)
Alex Auld

Talking points after the jump.

Here are my talking points:

  • Anderson in good form: Craig Anderson has put in three solid performances. He was absolutely brilliant at the start of the game against Edmonton and Ottawa took it from there. Let's hope it keeps going. If Anderson posts a 26-save shutout, or 35 saves out of 36 shots, etc., he will finally reach a .900 save percentage for the season.
  • Defence also in good form: While Anderson had to be good at the start of the game, the Senators defence didn't allow Edmonton too much in the last two periods. They are going to be in tough tonight against a very skilled team. Ottawa has allowed only five goals during this winning streak.
  • 5-on-5 play: If you pay attention to my summary statistics, you will know that Ottawa has been either 29th or 30th in the 5-on-5 ratio pretty much all season. They outscored Edmonton 5-0 in 5-on-5 situations on Thursday and thus jump to a season high 26th. The penalty kill and 5-on-5 are definitely improving, the power play is slipping though.
  • Vancouver's skill: I absolutely love the way Vancouver plays, they play hockey the right way. Had the referees done their job (i.e. calling a penalty when Sedin gets punched in the face), Vancouver might have been the Stanley Cup champions. They haven't been good so far, sporting a 9-9-1 record. But like when the Senators met Boston, you know Vancouver is too good to stay like this.
  • End of western trip: After a trek across western Canada, the Senators don't play again until Friday. There is no need to save energy tonight as the Senators should get a good rest afterwards. This trip has certainly gone far better than I expected.
  • Impact of late Sunday game on Mark: With the game ending around midnight, and the up-and-downs usually at 7:00 a.m. Monday morning, how will this game impact Mark's ability to get it out on time? Stay tuned.
Here are the 2011-2012 comparative statistics for the Senators and the Canucks:

Category Ottawa Enemy - Vancouver
Value Rank Value Rank
Goals For per game 2.90 8th 2.95 6th
Goals Against per game 3.35 28th 2.90 19th
5 on 5 GF/GA ratio 0.74 26th 0.82 23rd
Shots for per game 30.0 16th 33.1 5th
Shots against per game 30.0 15th 28.6 8th
Power play % 22.4 4th 26.7 1st
Penalty kill % 79.3 23rd 84.4 12th
Category Ottawa Enemy - Vancouver
Player Value Player Value
Points Jason Spezza 19 Daniel Sedin 23
Goals Milan Michalek 12 Daniel Sedin 6
Assists Erik Karlsson 17 Daniel Sedin 17
PP Points Erik Karlsson 9 Daniel Sedin 12
Shots Erik Karlsson 66 Daniel Sedin 61
Hits Nick Foligno 55 Maxim Lapierre 45
Avg. Ice time Erik Karlsson 25:11 Alexander Edler 23:37
Face-offs % Zenon Konopka 58.7 Manny Malhotra 58.8

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