Game 35 preview: Toronto Maple Leafs @ Ottawa Senators
The Senators look for their fourth straight win.
The Ottawa Senators will look to close out their five game homestand with a fourth consecutive victory when they host the Toronto Maple Leafs tonight. Since Ottawa lost 5-4 in Toronto on 6 March, the Senators have gone 7-1-2 in their next ten games and have solidified their place among the playoff teams in the eastern conference.
Ben Bishop will make his third consecutive start and there are expected to be no lineup changes, although Chris Neil will be a game time decision. Here are the lines from Nicolas St-Pierre.
Hoffman - Turris - Alfredsson
Latendresse - Zibanejad - Silfverberg
Greening - O'Brien - Neil
Kassian - Smith - Condra
Methot - Gryba
Gonchar - Wiercioch
Benoit - Phillips
And some notes for tonight:
- With the Bruins loss earlier in the day, Ottawa can pull level on points with Boston with a win tonight. The Bruins will have two games in hand though. If the Senators win and the Canadiens lose to the Rangers, Ottawa would be within a point of the division lead.
- Over/under on number of minutes before Kassian and Orr fight tonight? I am setting it at 3:30 into the game.
- Through the first two periods, scoring chances were 13-5 for Ottawa against the Rangers. The Rangers did fight back pushing for the equaliser in the third.
- Five-on-five, the line of Greening-O'Brien and Neil was the worst, with Ottawa getting outchanced 5-0 on even strength with Neil on the ice and winning the chances 12-6 with Neil off the ice. Neil did play a part in the game's opening goal on the power play.
- The Senators have earned at least a point in 73.5% of their games this season. Their 1.61 points per home game is first in the NHL.
- Ottawa has really been great on special teams this season. Not counting empty net goals, the Senators have a goal difference of +15. Most of that is due to outscoring the opposition +10 on the power play and penalty kill. Ottawa has 21 power play goals, two shorthanded goals, allowing 13 goals on the penalty kill and allowed zero shorthanded goals. What makes that statistic even more impressive is that the Senators have spent 58:26 more on the penalty kill than on the power play.
- The home team has won all three meetings between the two clubs.
- Toronto is the only team to ever have a lead by three goals against Ottawa at any point in a game this season. Their 3-0 win on 16 February was the only defeat the Senators have suffered by more than two goals.