Game 68 Preview: Ottawa Senators @ Florida Panthers

A preview of tonight’s Atlantic division matchup against the Florida Panthers.

Back in November, it looked like the Florida Panthers (34-25-7) would be joining Ottawa (23-33-11) near the bottom of the Eastern Conference standings. However, since December, the Panthers have been on a roll, and now find themselves just two points back of the Columbus Blue Jackets (77 points) of the final wild card spot.

Florida’s a sparking 8-1-1 in their last 10 — including a franchise record eight straight wins at home that they’ll be hoping to extend tonight. Meanwhile, Ottawa’s 2-6-2 — fresh off a 2-1 loss to the Flames.

Lineup Projections

Craig Anderson will be starting in his home state tonight and Mark Stone will miss tonight’s game with a leg injury — that’s for sure. We are, however, a bit uncertain on who’s doing to be playing on defence. There were some indications at practice today that Erik Burgdoefer may be in over Fredrik Claesson or Ben Harpur (who looked shaken up at practice yesterday). Keeping that in mind... here’s our projected Sens lineup:

Hoffman - Duchene - Dzingel
Ryan - Pageau - Gaborik
Paajarvi - Smith - Pyatt
McCormick - O’Brien - Burrows

Claesson - Karlsson
Harpur - Ceci
Borowiecki - Chabot
Burgdoefer (healthy scratch)

Anderson (starter)

Meanwhile, the Panthers are getting Denis Malgin back from injury and are expected to go with:

Dadonov - Barkov - Bjugstad
Huberdeau - Trocheck - Malgin
McGinn - McCann - Vatrano
Haley - MacKenzie - Sceviour

Ekblad - Yandle
Matheson - Pysyk
Weegar - Petrovic
Mamin (healthy scratch)

Luongo (starter)

Game notes

  • Stone finished Friday’s game against Calgary, but the weekend wasn’t enough rest for him to suit up today. Guy Boucher was pretty vague about the timeline of this injury, other than noting that he won’t play either game in Florida. Stone previously missed nine games with a lower-body injury.
  • Ottawa’s last game against Florida was right before the holiday break, and was a 1-0 shutout loss. It dampened the mood heading into the break, and things haven’t been much better since.
  • From Guy Boucher: “You look at video, they’re firing from all cylinders. They’ve got lots of intensity, lots of drive. They have two 60 pointers on their second line. Not a lot of teams have that.”
  • Keith Yandle has quietly eclipsed his point totals from last season (41 in 82), with 46 points in 66 games currently. He’s been a beneficiary of having Huberdeau and Barkov healthy on the powerplay.
  • Six players (Barkov, Dadonov, Yandle, Bjugstad, Trocheck, and Huberdeau) all have 8+ points in their last 10 games.
  • The Panthers have a hard time getting to the net at even-strength and on the powerplay, but still generate a decent number of scoring chances. They’ve been helped by their Russian additions, Evgeny Dadonov and Denis Malgin.
  • Trade deadline acquisition, Frank Vatrano, has slid into top-six minutes for the Cats despite lining up on the third line. A volume shooter, Vatrano adds some needed depth to the Panthers right-side. Moreover, when I look at their lineup, they really seem to beat Ottawa with their depth on forward (especially third-line and depth defencemen)/

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

Not everyone can afford to pay for sports coverage right now, and that is why we will keep as much of the site's content free for as long as we can.

But if you are able to, please consider subscribing to help keep our articles free (and get a few extra perks).

Erik Condra
  • Ability to comment and participate in our community
  • Twice monthly newsletter available only to subscribers
  • Ad-free reading
  • Our undying love and appreciation
Brady Tkachuk
  • Everything from the Erik Condra tier
  • 10% discount on all merch
  • Access to any future paywalled content
  • A personal thank-you from the Silver Seven staff
Daniel Alfredsson
  • Everything from the Brady Tkachuk tier
  • Inner peace knowing you are supporting quality, independent coverage of your favourite sports team