Game 3: Minnesota Wild @ Ottawa Senators

The Senators are asking fans to be in their seats by 7:15pm for tonight's game due to the opening ceremonies, but if the past two games are any indication, fans don't need to show up until the third period if they want to catch all the action. Darren explains why here.

Tonight represents the Senators' home opener, and strangely, the team is not wearing its new heritage jerseys. I would have thought this would be a great opportunity, but fans will have to wait until Thursday to see them in game action.

On the ice, the Senators take on a Wild team with a record of 1-1-0. Minnesota put together a strong 4-2 win against the Columbus Blue Jackets, and then a mysterious 2-1 loss to the New York Islanders. In what should be more of a defensive game than against its last two opponents, Ottawa will need to play at far more disciplined level than they have so far--it's unlikely they'll get an opportunity for a wild (no pun intended) comeback if they get down big tonight.

Projected lines from Ian Mendes:

Colin Greening -Jason Spezza - Mika Zibanejad
Milan Michalek -
Stephane Da Costa - Daniel Alfredsson
Nick Foligno - Peter Regin - Chris Neil
Zack Smith - Zenon Konopka - Erik Condra

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

Craig Anderson (starter)
Alex Auld

(Read on for talking points and statistics...)

Here are the talking points for tonight:

David Rundblad's first game - Ottawa's great Calder Trophy hope doesn't have the shine that he once did with a mediocre preseason performance as fans' only experience with him, but he remains a very promising talent for Ottawa's future. He'll get a chance to show his sweet moves against real competition tonight, but needs to be judicious with his risks -- having Phillips as his partner doesn't seem to leave a lot of room for error these days. Darren takes a closer look at what to expect here.

Dany Heatley is back - He's still a jerk, so feel free to discuss how much of a jerk he is.

Scratches - Looks like Bobby Butler and Nikita Filatov sit this one out. Konopka's .600 faceoff win percentage and 7 PIMs must have endeared him to MacLean somehow.

Regin's return - Peter Regin was having a good -- not great -- preseason before he hurt his shoulder. With Da Costa making a strong showing early, Regin can't afford to have an invisible night if he wants to play regularly. Having Foligno and Neil as linemates will make creating offense... interesting, to say the least.

Anderson's state of mind - Though he was a shining star last season, he's been absolutely shellacked this season. While I don't blame him for most of the goals he's given up, he's probably sick of trying to react to pucks coughed up to undefended forwards in the slot. How many more gaffes until he snaps?

Category Ottawa Enemy - Minnesota
Value Rank Value Rank
Goals For per game 4.00 T - 4th 2.50 15th
Goals Against per game 5.50 30th 2.00 13th
5 on 5 GF/GA ratio 0.33 26th 1.00 14th
Shots for per game 32.0 10th 23.5 26th
Shots against per game 37.0 28th 22.5 5th
Power play % 36.4 4th 18.9 9th
Penalty kill % 85.7 17th 88.9 13th
Category Ottawa Enemy - Minnesota
Player Value Player Value
Points Jason Spezza
4 Dany Heatley
Goals Daniel Alfredsson
2 Matt Cullen
Assists Erik Karlsson 4 Pierre-Marc Bouchard 2
PP Points Milan Michalek 2 Niklas Backstrom (this is awesome)
Shots Milan Michalek
Dany Heatley 9
Hits Brian Lee 10 Darroll Powe
Avg. Ice time Erik Karlsson
22:36 Dany Heatley
Face-offs Z. Smith 70.8% Nick Johnson

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