Game 22: Ottawa Senators at New Jersey Devils

Despite being on a four game winning streak, the Senators are a bruised and battered team right now. They are currently missing Anton Volchenkov, Alex Kovalev, Mike Fisher, Pascal Leclaire, and Shean Donovan, and will have to make due with a significantly altered line-up. But hey, that's not much of an excuse because the Devils, like all NHL teams right now, have injury problems of their own (Paul Martin, Jay Pandolfo, Rob Niedermeyer, Danius Zubrus, Johnny Oduya).

The teams met earlier this season, and Ottawa blew a two-goal lead to end up losing 3-2. In fact, dating back to 07-08, New Jersey has won seven straight against the Sens. They've also won their last four at home (much like the Sens), but are coming off a 0-2-1 road trip. Here are the players to watch tonight:

  • Jason Spezza - Spezza looked like a different player last game, and I don't mean it in a good way. He was hardly noticeable (except for missing a 2-on-1 opportunity at the end), and looked to be battling that nagging injury again. Considering how many players the Sens are missing, Spezza is a guy who really has to perform tonight and carry this team on his frail back.
  • Milan Michalek - The Sens are facing the best goaltender of the past decade, and the easiest way to slip it past him is likely to have Michalek take his new post in front of the net. His screen will be extremely important to the Sens' goal-scoring success.
  • Filip Kuba - Kuba has been on a tear lately, with eight points in the past three games. Let's hope he keeps it up, as strong plays from the back end are what this team needs.
  • Ryan Keller - He currently leads the AHL in goals, and this is his first NHL game. He starts on the fourth line, but don't be surprised if he moves up to the top six if playing well and the team needs a goal.
  • Brian Elliott - This is his first start since finding out that he'll be the go-to guy in net for the indefinite future. He should handle the pressure fine - he did last season - but this is a big test for Elliott.
  • Zach Parise - 12 points in a 7 game point streak. Chris Phillips needs to shut him down.

As always, come here before and after the puck drops for fun in the comments.

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