Game 36 Preview and Open Thread: Ottawa Senators at Detroit Red Wings

I hate to talk standings, but this is a huge one for the standings

Well, well, well. The Senators have come out of Christmas break and rattled off wins, and wins against the crème de la crème Bruins and the surging Capitals, no less. Ottawa was the better team in Washington, and were full marks for that win. The Sens continue on the road, looking to turn this into a streak, and they take on the Detroit Red Wings. A regulation win would allow the Sens to tie the Wings in points (though Detroit will have a game in hand). Ottawa’s playoff chances are sitting at a measly 13.8% (per Hockey Viz), but a win against direct competition would boost that.

Dillon Heatherington was sent down yesterday, and DJ Smith confirmed yesterday this means that Artem Zub returns to the lineup for the first time since taking a puck to the face on December 2nd. Cam Talbot is your likely starter. Here’s how the lines shake down:

Some Thoughts:

  • I started looking at the Sens’ shot charts on Hockey Viz, and they kind of confirm what I’d been suspecting: the Sens are getting a lot of great chances but not burying them as much as other teams. The powerplay chart shows that Ottawa’s been all kinds of dominant, taking shots at a rate 10% higher than league average, with the bulk of those shots coming from the Giroux/Stützle sweet spot on the right side, or else right in front of the net. It’s been so long since we’ve seen Ottawa with above-average special teams, so this is so nice to see.
  • Everything anyone has said about Giroux and DeBrincat, just say them again here.
  • Jake Lucchini’s mom and girlfriend are coming in tomorrow to watch him play in Detroit. His dad couldn’t get it off work, so hopefully he stays up a few more games so both his parents can come watch. Good Looch (as opposed to Milan Lucic = Bad Looch) has only played in three games, but with 55.2% of the 5v5 shot attempts (score and venue adjusted, via Natural Stat Trick) and a whopping 72.1% expected goals for, he has been very good so far.
  • Jason Jordan Joseph Jared Jacob Bernard-Docker looked passable but not great in his first game back. With Zub returning, he can start playing more of the minutes he should be as part of his development, on the third pair. I’m actually very interested to see how an aging Holden and youthful JBD fare together.
  • The only Sens-Wings game of the season so far was a 6-3 Sens victory in which the Sens scored three powerplay goals and two shorthanded goals (one on an empty net). There will be two more meetings after tonight, which occur on back-to-back days in February (27th and 28th), one as a makeup for the December 23rd postponement.
  • Ottawa’s 8-3-2 record in December outclasses the Wings’ 4-5-2, so let’s hope the hotter team of late carries that momentum.
  • Game starts tonight at 7 pm, with coverage on Sportsnet 1, TVA Sports, and Bally Sports Detroit./


Team Stats

Game 36OttawaSenatorsDetroitRed Wings
Goals Against/GP3.1717th3.3219th
Shots Against/GP32.723rd31.919th
Powerplay %28.03rd21.119th
Penalty Kill %80.711th76.720th
Corsi % (5v5 SVA)51.1115th44.9228th
xGF % (5v5 SVA)51.1316th48.0025th

Player Stats

Game 31OttawaSenators#LumbusBlue Jackets
GoalsClaude Giroux15Boone Jenner11
AssistsBrady Tkachuk25Johnny Gaudreau27
PointsBrady Tkachuk38Johnny Gaudreau37
ShotsBrady Tkachuk160Johnny Gaudreau97
Time on Ice/GPThomas Chabot26:08Zach Werenski (inj.)23:36

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