Game 47 preview: Philadelphia Flyers @ Ottawa Senators

The Senators playing their last home game of the season against the Philadelphia Flyers tonight at 7:00 p.m.

Erik Karlsson will play his first game at home since returning from injury as the Ottawa Senators host the Philadelphia Flyers. Ottawa currently is seventh in the eastern conference, sitting one point back of the New York Islanders, three points back of the Toronto Maple Leafs and tied on points with the New York Rangers. Should Ottawa lose both remaining games in regulation, they will finish eighth and face the Pittsburgh Penguins regardless of any other results. So these games still matter.

The Senators will make only one change to the lineup with Matt Kassian returning to the lineup in place of Guillaume Latendresse. Here are the lines from Sylvain St-Laurent.

Michalek - Turris - Silfverberg
Greening - Zibanejad - Alfredsson
Conacher - Pageau - Condra
Kassian - Smith - Neil

Methot - Karlsson
Cowen - Gonchar
Phillips - Gryba

Anderson (starter)

Some notes for tonight:

  • Against a "tough" team like the Flyers, Matt Kassian will play. This is an excellent reason to hope we avoid the Bruins in the first round because Ottawa will likely play Kassian in playoff games.
  • Erik Karlsson played over 27 minutes in his return, aided by playing 9:16 of Ottawa's 9:45 in power play time. What kind of ice time can we expect? Can we expect him to no longer play on the penalty kill with Cowen, Gonchar, Phillips, Methot, Gryba all present? There is no doubt he is very good on the penalty kill, but it uses up ice time that can be better utilised elsewhere.
  • The forward lines have changed again. Hopefully MacLean can settle on a combination before the playoffs.
  • Chris Phillips had a forgettable game against the Capitals. Will he perform better tonight?
  • Yours truly, our Dear Leader as well as some of our humble subjects will be in attendance tonight. With Karlsson's return at home, a playoff spot clinched, I hope and expect an electric atmosphere tonight. It won't be Alfie's last ever regular season game at home will it?
  • The Senators power play is already looking better with Karlsson, generating 11 scoring chances and scoring the game winner against Washington.
  • The Flyers are dead and buried but have won three games in a row, with the last two coming against the playoff bound Bruins and Islanders.

Now bear with me as I will try and explain the playoff seed scenarios.

  • If the Senators win, the Rangers lose and the Leafs gain at least a point then Ottawa will be locked into the sixth seed and play the Washington Capitals regardless of the result tomorrow. The same will also be true if Ottawa gains a point and the Rangers lose in regulation (Toronto's result doesn't matter in this case). These are the only scenarios in which Ottawa's game tomorrow with Boston is meaningless for the Senators.
  • If none of that happens, tomorrow's game against Boston will matter. It is a bit complicated as Ottawa's opponent is not only dependent on whether they finish 5th, 6th, 7th or 8th but if they finish 7th or 5th, it also depends on whether Montreal or Boston is 2nd/4th. It becomes even more complicated when considering that the Ottawa/Boston game can decide not only where Ottawa finishes but where Boston/Montreal finish. There are many combinations of regulation wins, overtime wins or shootout wins.
  • I actually tried to make a spreadsheet with every combination of outcomes in the five relevant games, but eventually I gave up.
  • Ottawa will win any tiebreaker with the Islanders and they will lose one with the Rangers unless the Rangers win in a shootout and Ottawa wins before a shootout. Toronto will win the tiebreaker with Ottawa.
  • Montreal will win the tiebreaker with Boston.
Here are the fancy stats:

NAME TOI/60 Corsi Rel QoC Corsi Relative Off Zone Start %
Turris 14.85 0.434 -2.5 53.3
Alfredsson 14.16 0.04 4.5 54.8
Michalek 14.01 -0.352 5.5 61
Smith 13.65 0.662 -3.7 49.9
Silfverberg 12.91 0.554 0.1 61.8
Greening 12.71 0.468 0.3 54.8
Neil 12.34 0.613 0.8 50.5
Conacher 11.76 0.321 -0.3 57.6
Zibanejad 11.13 0.105 3.7 65.9
Condra 10.75 -0.158 6.6 52.6
Pageau 10.23 1.824 14 48.8
Kassian 6.27 -1.444 1 61.3

I guess Kassian doesn't completely suck against really, really easy competition. But meh to him.

NAME TOI/60 Corsi Rel QoC Corsi Relative Off Zone Start %
Karlsson 19.52 0.389 22.1 59.4
Methot 18.12 0.864 -5 51.6
Gryba 17.46 1.161 -17.6 50.3
Gonchar 17.05 0.262 -1.2 55.8
Phillips 16.09 0.289 -6.6 52.3


15.5 -0.321 -7.5 68.6

Jared Cowen is shown as having a Corsi Rel of -7.5 here but his Corsi ON is actually +22.46. That just how much Ottawa has dominated shot attempts in the last five games that a +22.46 per 60 is worse than the rest of the team.

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