Game 63 preview: Ottawa Senators @ Calgary Flames

A preview of the game between the Ottawa Senators and Calgary Flames on 5 March 2014.

I might have given up on the playoffs for the season, but I hope that the players haven't. There are 20 games left and they are four points out of a playoff spot and would have to pass four teams. SportsClubStats puts their chance at a playoff spot at 14.4% and has them needing to go the equivalent of 12-6-2 over the last 20 games just to give themselves a 50-50 shot at a playoff spot.

The Senators need to go on a huge run for 20 games. Is it likely? No. Is it possible? Yes. Having lost Cory Conacher to waivers along with a third and fifth round pick to acquire Ales Hemsky, the Senators will be back in action tonight against the Calgary Flames. Here are the likely lines:

MacArthur - Turris - Ryan
Michalek - Spezza - Hemsky
Hoffman - Zibanejad - Condra
Greening - Smith - Neil

Methot - Karlsson
Phillips - Ceci
Wiercioch - Gryba

Anderson (starter)

Some notes for tonight:

  • Chris Phillips must be happy about having Ales Hemsky on his team after being turned into a pylon by Hemsky last night.
  • Will Paul MacLean ever realise that Colin Greening - Zack Smith - Chris Neil contains his worst two wingers and the worst centre and that they should play for five minutes a night?
  • Can Bobby Ryan be given ice time worthy of his play and skill?
  • The Senators have largely been a one-man team (more than usual) since the Olympic break. Shot attempts during 5-on-5 play in the last three games have been 82-30 Ottawa with Erik Karlsson on the ice and 74-71 for the opposition with Karlsson off the ice.
  • Jared Cowen is likely a healthy scratch for the third straight game.
  • I hope that the team proves me wrong and makes the playoffs. Would be wonderful to see. And super fun.
  • Marc Methot is one point away from getting 20 points in any league for the first time in his career. This includes junior hockey.
  • After managing to convince Bryan Murray that he is still of use three years ago, Chris Phillips did it again for another two years. Phillips must be smiling.
  • With Phillips, Marc Methot, Mark Borowiecki, Jared Cowen and Patrick Wiercioch all left-handed defencemen signed to one-way deals next year, have to think Wiercioch (or Cowen) is out the door before training camp.
  • Paul MacLean has been an absolutely awful coach this year. There are talent issues on the roster, and they have been a bit unlucky with the percentages, but this team is likely comfortably in a playoff with some better coaching.

Here are some stats leaders for the two teams tonight.

Category Ottawa Calgary
Player # Player #
Goals Bobby Ryan 22 Sean Monahan 18
Assists Erik Karlsson 40 Jiri Hudler 29
Points Erik Karlsson 57 Jiri Hudler 43
Shots Erik Karlsson 198 Mike Cammalleri 136
Average Ice time Erik Karlsson 27:21 Mark Giordano 25:20

Category Ottawa Calgary
# Rank # Rank
Goals For 2.79 11th 2.25 29th
Goals Against 3.16 27th 2.98 25th
Corsi Close % 51.9% 9th 45.2% 27th
Fenwick Close % 50.7% 14th 46.7% 27th
Shots For 32.4 4th 26.8 27th
Shots Against 34.1 28th 28.8 9th

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