Game 63 Preview and Open Thread: Ottawa Senators @ Chicago Blackhawks

Can they please just win one game against this trash heap of a franchise?

Now 2-0 in the Jakob Chychrun era, the Ottawa Senators embark on a five-game road trip looking for a win against an opponent that, almost unfathomably, has had Ottawa’s number at every turn.

It doesn’t matter that they pale in comparison to the Sens in every conceivable stat in the books. It doesn’t matter that their leading scorer has fewer points this season than Tim Stützle has goals. And it certainly doesn’t matter that this is the best lineup they could come up with for tonight.

The Chicago Blackhawks are a terrible hockey club, but they’ve won nine straight against Ottawa. The last time the Sens beat them was in December of 2016, a time so long ago that it was in a whole different team era.

Everything seems to be going the Senators’ way at the moment: Chychrun has set a record for having his name chanted in Ottawa after just two games, the rest of the defense corps is also on fire, and Stützle, as we alluded to before, has 31 goals on the year with a good chance to hit 40 at season’s end. The Sens looked unstoppable at times on Saturday vs. the Columbus Blue Jackets.

If they want to make the playoffs, however, they’ll need to take care of business in games like these. You can’t afford to lose both contests against a team that’s this bad, especially in the way Ottawa last played against Chicago; they were lucky to get even a single point.

The only change to the Sens’ lineup is Mads Sogaard starting in goal with Cam Talbot sidelined with a lower-body injury, facing Alex Stalock for Chicago.

Game Notes:

  • The production from the blueline has been a significant reason why Ottawa is 12-3-1 in their last 16 games. Erik Brannstrom, with 6 points in 15 games (a good pace for a second-pairing defender), is still 6th out of 7 in terms of points per game in that stretch.
  • Alex DeBrincat, playing his first game back in Chicago since the trade this past summer, has been heating up as of late, with a goal and five assists on a five-game point streak. Look for him to push for 30 goals on the year — he’ll need 10 more in the next 20 games to hit that mark.
  • There are a couple of former Senators in Chicago’s lineup: both Nikita Zaitsev and 2014 2nd-round selection Andreas Englund will play tonight.
  • It’s been six years but we’ve finally been reacquainted with an old friend in the out-of-town scoreboard. Keep an eye on the Buffalo Sabres, who are taking on the Edmonton Oilers, as well as the Washington Capitals, who face the Los Angeles Kings.
  • It’s a 9:00 PM ET start time tonight, on TSN5, RDS, and TSN 1200./


Player Stats

Game 63OttawaSenatorsChicagoBlackhawks
GoalsTim Stutzle31Jonathan Toews, Taylor Raddysh, Andreas Athanasiou14
AssistsBrady Tkachuk40Seth Jones21
PointsTim Stutzle, Brady Tkachuk66Seth Jones29
ShotsBrady Tkachuk256Seth Jones138
Time on Ice/GPThomas Chabot25:34Seth Jones24:36

Team Stats

Game 63OttawaSenatorsChicagoBlackhawks
Goals Against/GP3.1116th3.6027th
Shots Against/GP31.720th33.728th
Powerplay %24.96th17.427th
Penalty Kill %82.76th75.724th
Corsi % (5v5 SVA)50.9317th41.4931st
xGF % (5v5 SVA)51.5914th40.0631st

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