Game 59 Preview and Open Thread: Ottawa Senators vs Detroit Red Wings

OK, this one is *actually* a must-win game.

You’ve heard the phrase run into the ground like it’s Thomas Chabot, but these next two contests are “must-win games” for the Ottawa Senators.

They currently sit four points back of the Detroit Red Wings, and the two clubs are about to play back-to-back in Ottawa in what should be a high-energy series considering the pressure on both teams, and the fact that they’re the two hottest teams in the playoff race right now.

A pair of regulation wins would see Ottawa tied with Detroit in the standings (with a leg up thanks to the regulation wins tiebreaker). If the out-of-town scoreboard is optimal, the Sens could potentially find themselves a mere three points back of a playoff spot after tomorrow.

Until further notice, expect Cam Talbot to battle Magnus Hellberg in the crease tonight, and for the lines to remain the same as against Montreal.

Game Notes:

  • Bonk’s Mullet on Twitter has brought back Sens Money on the Board and will be supporting the Ottawa Heart Institute for the next two games. /
  • While the Red Wings have a better goal differential and are better at suppressing shots, the Sens generate more chances and have better special teams. Furthermore, if one team between the two is due for some positive regression, it’s Ottawa. Their 5v5 shooting percentage has been steadily improving but is still 31st in the league, while Detroit’s has been unsustainably high as of late, and only now is starting to taper off with their recent 3-0 loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning despite outshooting them 45-18.
  • The Senators’ depth players lifted them over the Montreal Canadiens on Saturday despite a lackluster performance from their top players, and a similar effort against a better team will most likely result in pain and suffering. It’s pretty hard to imagine Tim Stützle going pointless in a fourth straight game, he’s too good to not bounce back.
  • Among the Senators’ older players, Nick Holden (5 assists in his last 6 games) and Derick Brassard (4 points in his last 4 games) have provided much-needed secondary scoring of late. I wouldn’t mind bringing back Holden for one more year as a depth option, as on top of being fairly reliable at both ends of the ice, he doesn’t have as much mileage compared to others his age. And it’s pretty obvious from anybody watching the team’s post-victory goggles celebrations that he’s still got a bit of energy to burn.
  • It’s a 7:00 pm EST start tonight, and you can watch on RDS2, TSN5, or listen to TSN1200./

Stats:

Player Stats

Game 59OttawaSenatorsDetroitRed Wings
CategoryPlayer#Player#
GoalsTim Stutzle26Dylan Larkin22
AssistsBrady Tkachuk37Dylan Larkin33
PointsBrady Tkachuk61Dylan Larkin57
ShotsBrady Tkachuk238Dylan Larkin180
Time on Ice/GPThomas Chabot25:46Moritz Seider22:57

Team Stats

Game 59OttawaSenatorsDetroitRed Wings
Category#Rank#Rank
Goals/GP3.0219th3.0518th
Goals Against/GP3.1918th3.1216th
Shots/GP33.19th29.028th
Shots Against/GP32.322nd30.712th
Powerplay %25.05th21.018th
Penalty Kill %82.28th78.318th
Corsi % (5v5 SVA)50.3719th45.4227th
xGF % (5v5 SVA)50.8217th45.733rd

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