For all of the improvements the Ottawa Senators have made over the last week or so, they're heading into a very tough stretch in their schedule sitting at 11-11-0. Games in hand provide a great opportunity to gain ground in the standings, but losses will also sting more from here on out.
Standing between the team and their first long road trip of the year is their second tilt of the year against the Carolina Hurricanes.
Despite being in the midst of a four-game losing streak, the Hurricanes are the best team in the league at generating and surpressing shots, and despite Ottawa having out-chanced their opponents in each game since that ghastly performance against Florida, continuing that trend tonight will be tough. Either a fantastic goaltending performance on one end of the ice, or the opposite on the other end, might be necessary to get back to above .500 hockey.
DJ Smith confirmed no changes to the lineup from Saturday’s dismantling of the Detroit Red Wings.
Expect Joonas Korpisalo to face Pyotr Kochetkov in goal.
- It appears we have finally arrived at our optimal top-six. Two lines that can score and, at the very least, go even with other top lines. Tim Stützle, Vladimir Tarasenko and Drake Batherson, as well as Brady Tkachuk, Josh Norris and Claude Giroux have posted results at 5v5 ranging from solid to fantastic. There's adequate depth as well – Mathieu Joseph on the wing and Ridly Greig at centre can easily fill any of these six spots in case of an injury.
- Jacob Bernard-Docker has been very solid in his past 4 games, with his first NHL goal, an assist, a +6 rating and a 57.38% expected goals share at 5v5.
- At 14-12-1, Carolina has been underperforming due to a relative lack of finishing, but especially with goaltending that makes Ottawa's look Vezina-caliber in comparison. Frederik Andersen is their best performer of three with an .894, and he's only played in six games due to blood clots.
- Tonight's game is available on TSN5, RDS, TSN 1200, and, most notably, not on Sportsnet. Puck drop is 7 pm!
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