Game 53 Preview: Nashville Predators @ Ottawa Senators

32 games and counting

Tonight marks the return of Kyle Turris to Ottawa, with the Predators in town fresh off a 3-2 SO loss to the Maple Leafs. Don’t let that fool you though - they outshot Toronto 46-32. Sure, they’ll be on the second-half of a back-to-back with travel, but every time the Sens have underestimated an opponent this season, they’ve lost. Actually, they’ve done a lot of losing even without underestimating their opponents too. Anyway, point being, Nashville is a really good team, and Ottawa hasn’t been, three-wins-in-four-games notwithstanding.

Alexandre Burrows will start his 10-game suspension tonight. Mike Blunden was re-called this morning, and the Sens will go with 11 forwards and 7 defencemen. Here are the projected lines and pairings:

Hoffman - Duchene - White
Dzingel - Smith - DiDomenico
Paajarvi - Pageau - Pyatt
McCormick - Blunden

Oduya - Karlsson
Chabot - Ceci
Phaneuf - Borowiecki

Anderson (starter)

Some thoughts:

  • More and more teams seem to be using 11 forwards and seven defencemen, at least some of the time. To me, this kind of makes sense. The lowest of your fourth-line forwards is only going to get maybe eight minutes per game. It makes more sense to give those minutes to an extra defenceman, which will help especially if a d-man takes a penalty or gets injured. Rotating your best players through the fourth line is a great chance to give call-ups a chance with skilled linemates. It means your best prospects (or Max McCormick) get a chance to play with a good player.
  • I think the Blunden call-up is a reward to the Belleville captain. It’s not easy captaining a team that’s had as awful of a start as the B-Sens. Even if he’s only up a couple days with the big team, the couple days of NHL pay give him around ~$5000 of bonus pay. I’d take that.
  • Last game, Dion Phaneuf and Cody Ceci were split up after allowing the opening goal. I’m curious to see if that continues, or if Boucher returns to them the way a dog returns to its vomit. As Demi Lovato would say, I’m sorry I’m not sorry.
  • Boucher had some good comments on Colin White, saying he’s with Matt Duchene and Mike Hoffman because he deserves it, not just because of injury. We’ll see if White is still with them by the second period tonight, or if then someone like Zack Smith or McCormick “deserves it” more.
  • Speaking of which, the Sens have apparently cooled on the thought of trading Hoffman, according to Bob McKenzie
  • Mike Condon is apparently sick, but will still sit as the backup.
  • Speaking of goaltending, Marcus Hogberg got his first career AHL shutout last night. For some reason he hadn’t started in two weeks, and wasn’t even scheduled to start last night but got it because Danny Taylor had the flu. In a lost season for both the big club and the AHL squad, I don’t know why the Sens’ most promising goalie prospect is stuck behind a KHL signing that didn’t work out and a guy who’s part of the Colorado Avalanche organization.
  • You’re never ready for another article about Turris and the Capital City Condors
  • Since the trade, Turris has 6 goals and 16 assists in 37 games; Duchene has 9 goals and 11 assists in 38 games. Turris started out red-hot after the trade, but has just five points in his last 20 games. Duchene went the other way, starting off cold, but now has 14 points in his last 14 games. How many times will the two be compared on the broadcast?
  • No Mike Fisher tonight, as he’s still training with the team, aiming to sign a contract by February 26th (the trade deadline)/

Here are some stats for each team:

Team Stats

Goals against/GP3.4430th2.563rd
Shots against/GP33.025th29.32nd
Powerplay %16.726th23.54th
Penalty Kill %76.227th83.34th
Corsi (5v5, Score & Venue Adjusted)46.3229th53.972nd
Fenwick (5v5, SVA)46.9427th54.011st

Player Stats

GoalsMatt Duchene27Brad Marchand34
AssistsErik Karlsson (out)53Brad Marchand51
PointsKarlsson/Stone (both out)62Brad Marchand85
ShotsMike Hoffman253David Pastrnak236
TOI/GPErik Karlsson (out)26:44Zdeno Chara22:53

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