Fresh off splitting a weekend set of games with the Detroit Red Wings and Minnesota Wild, the Ottawa Senators are in Winnipeg tonight to face the Jets. Winnipeg’s 20-10-1 record qualifies as one of the biggest surprises of this first part of the season, and they’re not to be under-estimated.
- The Sens should come into this game feeling pretty good having split their back-to-back over the weekend considering the number of key- and role-players missing from their lineup (Jacob Bernard-Docker, Mathieu Joseph, Josh Norris, Tim Stützle, and Artem Zub).
- The Jets, meanwhile lost their Sunday matchup against Seattle but, like Ottawa, have six wins in their last ten and a litany of injuries as well (Mason Appleton, Nikolaj Ehlers, Ville Heinola, Saku Maenalanen, Nate Schmidt, Logan Stanley, and Blake Wheeler).
- While I don’t want to downplay the talent that the Jets do have (they present a very serious threat in their division) I think their position is reflective of where Ottawa could be with a few more lucky bounces here and there. The two teams are worlds apart in the standings but when you break down the numbers, Winnipeg doesn’t have a huge advantage at the margins—goaltending notwithstanding.
- About that goaltending, Connor Hellebuyck looks like a Vezina-calibre netminder again this season. While I hate to say Ottawa’s fate in this game comes down to who starts for the Jets, you can bet the moneyline will reflect whether Ottawa sees Hellebuyck or David Rittich. Hellebuyck didn’t take the morning skate, so as of this writing it seems possible he will not be the starter.
- I should clarify that on paper, with injuries to both teams noted, the Jets still have the statistical advantage in this game. On top of their elite five-on-five goaltending, they can also outscore Ottawa at even strength. Winnipeg also possesses good penalty kill shot-suppression and they don’t take a lot of penalties — which could be an issue for the Sens’ offensive hopes.
- Ottawa meanwhile has rode their powerplay this far in December and will need to keep it rolling until the likes of Norris and Stützle can return if they want to hover around .500 for any period of time. Ottawa’s goaltenders have served as the Senators’ best penalty-killers, and the five-on-five rates remain decent despite the very noticeable aforementioned absences down the middle and on defence.
- Ottawa has also done a real 180 in terms of drawing more penalties than they take (possibly a chicken-and-egg question with their overall team success) and special teams have made the most of it.
- In summary: Go Sens Go./
Expected and Actual Goals
|Team||5V5 xGF/60||5V5 Sh%||5V5 xGA/60||5V5 Sv%||PP xGF/60||PP Sh%||PK xGA/60||PK Sv%|
Lines from Last Game:
DJ Smith said no changes from last game besides in net where Talbot will start during his media availability this morning, so here’s how the Sens should line ‘em up:
DeBrincat - Pinto - Batherson
Motte - Kastelic - Watson
Kelly - Gambrell - Chartier
Chabot - Zaitsev
Sanderson - Hamonic
Brännström - Holden
Connor - Dubois - Gagner
Barron - Lowry - Harkins
Gustafsson - Stenlund - Jonsson-Fjällby
Morrissey - DeMelo
Dillon - Pionk
Samberg - Capobianco
|Goals||Claude Giroux||14||David Pastrnak||24|
|Assists||Brady Tkachuk||24||David Pastrnak||23|
|Points||Brady Tkachuk||37||David Pastrnak||47|
|Shots||Brady Tkachuk||143||David Pastrnak||168|
|Time on Ice/GP||Thomas Chabot||25:58||Hampus Lindholm||23:52|
|Penalty Kill %||80.0||13th||84.7||3rd|
|Corsi % (5v5 SVA)||51.28||15th||53.81||5th|
|xGF % (5v5 SVA)||50.78||17th||56.05||3rd|
Where to watch/listen:
Watch on RDS, TSN5 or listen TSN1200 @8PM EST