Game 32 Preview: Ottawa Senators @ Nashville Predators

The NHL’s worst defensive team meets the NHL’s best.

The Ottawa Senators kick off their three-game road trip this evening, travelling to Music City to face the Nashville Predators. While the two teams are already on completely different sides of the standings, their play styles differ even more, with Nashville and their stacked defence corps allowing a league-best 2.53 goals per game. Compare that to Ottawa’s 3.94 per game, and this game has the potential to go sideways quickly.

Craig Anderson will be back in net after resting the second half of Sunday’s back-to-back. With numerous players on the roster injured, both Stefan Elliott and Paul Carey were recalled from Belleville yesterday. Elliott could play his first game as a Senator after being acquired this past week from Pittsburgh, although it will be a game-time decision whether Guy Boucher rolls 12-6 or 11-7.

Here are the lines and pairings from TSN 1200:

Tkachuk - White - Stone
Boedker - Tierney - Batherson
Dzingel - Smith - Paajarvi
McCormick - Paul - Pyatt

Chabot - Harpur
Lajoie - Ceci
Falk - Burgdoerfer

Anderson (starter)

Here are some additional game notes:

  • The one area where Ottawa hasn’t had trouble this season has been goal scoring, and with both Matt Duchene and Bobby Ryan out, things become pretty worrisome. The last two game stretch was only Ottawa’s second of the season where they scored under four goals in that span, and it took them extra time to accomplish it.
  • That will mean some heavy reliance on the top line of Tkachuk, White and Stone to produce. Tkachuk has been cooling down since his hot start, now on a six game pointless drought. That hasn’t kept Stone from dominating, however, getting a point on all of Ottawa’s last six goals.
  • Looking past the top line, though, it doesn’t really inspire confidence. Boedker hasn’t been performing in the top nine, and fourth liners Smith and Paajarvi have also been bumped up. Both Falk and Burgdoerfer haven’t been able to do much at the AHL level, yet they find themselves making up Ottawa’s third pairing.
  • The Predators also have their fair share of injuries, with Filip Forsberg, Viktor Arvidsson, Kyle Turris and P.K. Subban out of their lineup. They appear to be making recovery progress, although none will be returning tonight. Pekka Rinne will be their starting goalie.
  • These two teams will face each other again soon, back in Ottawa on December 17th.
  • You can catch the game on TSN5, starting at 8:00 p.m./

Here are some statistics from and Natural Stat Trick:

Team Stats

CategoryOttawaSenatorsNew Jersey Devils
Goals Against/GP3.8631st3.5828th
Shots Against/GP38.031st31.517th
Powerplay %22.012th17.121st
Penalty Kill %73.830th82.87th
Corsi (5v5, Score & Venue Adjusted)42.5631st49.6420th
Fenwick (5v5, SVA)43.0231st50.3216th

Player Stats

OttawaSenatorsNew JerseyDevils
GoalsMark Stone16Kyle Palmieri17
AssistsThomas Chabot26Taylor Hall24
PointsMark Stone39Taylor Hall33
ShotsThomas Chabot94Kyle Palmieri106
TOI/GPThomas Chabot24:23Sami Vatanen22:20

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