Game 24: Ottawa Senators @ Winnipeg Jets

The Ottawa Senators are back on the road, this time in the land of no parks Winnipeg. The Senators currently sit tied with the Tampa Bay Lightning in 10th place with identical 11-10-2 records.

The Senators didn't make changes and Jared Cowen and David Rundblad continue to play together in an all-rookie pairing. They did however move Sergei Gonchar to the second power play unit and replace him with Rundblad. Here are the lines from the Ottawa Sun:

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

Filip Kuba - Erik Karlsson
Chris Phillips - Sergei Gonchar
Jared Cowen - David Rundblad

Craig Anderson (starter)
Alex Auld

Talking points and statistics after the jump.

Here are my talking points for tonight:

  • Rookie pairing: The Senators will go with Cowen/Rundblad again. I like this pairing actually despite it being two rookies. Cowen plays very conservatively and should help out when Rundblad skates in deep. On the other hand, Cowen tends to get stuck in his own zone and Rundblad can help move the puck out on offence. It also has the added benefit of Rundblad playing against the opposition's third lines.
  • New look power play: Moving Gonchar to the second unit will let the Senators roll out a second unit of Michalek-Foligno-Alfredsson, Kuba-Gonchar and allows for a more potent thread on the second unit. It will be interesting to see if there is sustained pressure on the second half of power plays.
  • Karlsson still flying: Erik Karlsson is all by himself in leading the NHL in assists and all defencemen in points. He also has had at least one shot on goal for 22 straight games. Hopefully Karlsson can finally get his second goal though.
  • Zack Smith's improvement: Smith is now tied for third in points among forwards on the team. He is also on the club's top penalty kill unit. I have been very pleased with his performance this season. Hopefully he has another strong game tonight, especially if the club gets into penalty trouble again.
  • Limit penalties: Speaking of penalties, Ottawa hopefully doesn't give the opposition another eight penalties. These two teams are the two worst in power play time minus penalty kill time.
Here are the 2011-2012 comparative statistics for the Senators and the Jets:

Category Ottawa Enemy - Winnipeg
Value Rank Value Rank
Goals For per game 2.87 9th 2.83 10th
Goals Against per game 3.39 30th 3.17 25th
5 on 5 GF/GA ratio 0.79 26th 1.02 12th
Shots for per game 29.7 18th 29.9 16th
Shots against per game 30.7 19th 30.3 18th
Power play % 20.0 5th 18.1 10th
Penalty kill % 79.8 25th 81.4 18th
Category Ottawa Enemy - Winnipeg
Player Value Player Value
Points Jason Spezza 22 Kyle Wellwood 17
Goals Milan Michalek 12 Evander Kane 10
Assists Erik Karlsson 20 Dustin Byfuglien 11
PP Points Erik Karlsson 10 Dustin Byfuglien 6
Shots Jason Spezza 73 Dustin Byfuglien 85
Hits Nick Foligno 65 Evander Kane 55
Avg. Ice time Erik Karlsson 25:12 Tobias Enstrom 25:07
Face-offs % Zenon Konopka 60.7 Brian Little 52.3

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