Game 37 Preview + Open Thread: Carolina Hurricanes @ Ottawa Senators
Egor Sokolov returns as the Sens take to the ice without their star forward
After a decisive win over a bottom-feeding team on Tuesday, the Ottawa Senators will play host to one of the best teams in the league, as the Carolina Hurricanes pay a visit to the Canadian Tire Centre.
The Canes have been phenomenal all season, and are widely considered to be an underrated team and a dark horse cup contender. The last meeting between these two teams snapped a massive losing streak for the Senators and kicked off a pretty impressive turnaround. It was also an ugly win, as the Sens were largely outplayed but won off a combination of heroic goaltending from Anton Forsberg and good puck luck. Or maybe just sheer force of will. They really wanted that win.
Here are the lines from morning skate:
Tkachuk - Norris - Sanford
Formenton - Stützle - Ennis
Sokolov - Tierney - Gaudette
Paul - Bishop - Watson
Chabot - Thomson
Holden - Zub
Mete - J. Brown
- I don’t need to tell Sens fans just how much Drake Batherson’s absence is going to matter to this team. Batherson is the type of player who makes everyone around him better, and I strongly suspect that he was the engine driving that top line. This team struggled a lot when he had COVID-19, and with Norris and Tkachuk both slumping and the team already very thin on the right side, this will be a big test for the forward group.
- With that being said, if there’s one silver lining to this whole situation, it’s the return of Egor Sokolov to the lineup. Sokolov played a very limited role in his first 4 NHL games earlier this season. With Batherson and Connor Brown both out now, expect him to get a real chance to prove himself.
- Interestingly, Sokolov was actually playing on his off wing at morning skate, next to Tierney and Gaudette on the third line. The top 6 will be 100% lefties. We’ll see if that changes eventually.
- The players to watch on the Hurricanes are Sebastian Aho and Andrei Svechnikov. Aho just keeps getting better every year and is on an absolute tear right now, and Svechnikov has recorded 2 points in each of his last 5 games.
- As the stats indicate, Carolina’s real strength is their defense. They allow the fewest goals and shots in the league, and have the best penalty kill. Without Batherson in the lineup, the Sens will need to get a few ugly ones if they want to win this.
- Puck drop is at 7pm ET. You can watch live on RDS2 or TSN5, or listen on TSN 1200 radio./
|Penalty Kill %||80.3||16th||83.0||9th|
|Corsi % (5v5 SVA)||46.34||30th||48.29||20th|
|xGF % (5v5 SVA)||46.44||24th||47.67||22nd|
|Goals||Josh Norris||18||Sebastian Aho||19|
|Assists||Drake Batherson||21||Sebastian Aho||26|
|Points||Drake Batherson||34||Sebastian Aho||45|
|Shots||Brady Tkachuk||133||Andrei Svechnikov||130|
|Time on Ice/GP||Thomas Chabot||27:08:00||Jaccob Slavin||23:51:00|