Game 71 preview: Ottawa Senators @ Tampa Bay Lightning

A preview of the game between the Ottawa Senators and the Tampa Bay Lightning on 24 March 2014.

The Ottawa Senators will lose their seventh straight game tonight when they make the Tampa Bay Lightning very happy tonight. The Senators are currently sitting sixth last in the NHL, four points ahead of the Calgary Flames and six points ahead of the New York Islanders.

To add to the gloom, the man running the show says things like this:

I think Cowen and Gryba have come a long a little bit better than Patrick has, but the play of Cody Ceci, coming up and being able to play in the league the way he has, is more of a factor with Patrick.

I guess it isn't a surprise given that Patrick Wiercioch is so often a healthy scratch, but that gives some insight into the coach's mind.

There was an optional skate, but here is my guess at the lines and pairings.

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

Methot - Karlsson
Cowen - Gryba
Phillips - Ceci

Lehner (starter)

Some notes for today:

  • If Bobby Ryan is out for the year, have we already seen the last game that he played for Ottawa? Ryan has had a disappointing season given the expectations with 48 points in 70 games. That's a 56 points pace over 82 games. He is definitely out for the next two games.
  • Erik Karlsson spoke at length with Swedish media, talking about his divorce, losing his three best friends on the team (Daniel Alfredsson, Jakob Silfverberg and Peter Regin) as well as his achilles injury. Karlsson stated that it doesn't hurt but doesn't feel the same as it used to. He mentions not being able to work out last summer and feels he could be back to normal next year.
  • The team may have lost six in a row but it isn't because of Karlsson. He has a point in each of those six games with two goals and six assists and an on-ice Corsi percentage of 55.4.
  • Ottawa is getting outscored by half a goal on average every game. Ugly stuff.
  • Robin Lehner finally had a good game. Can he finally start to rebound?
  • Karlsson is one of 44 NHL defencemen that draws more penalties than they take. His overall differential +3 is 14th in the league among defencemen. As one would guess, Jared Cowen and Chris Phillips are the two worst on the team in this with differentials of -13 and -10 respectively.
  • Zack Smith has two goals and two assists in his last 26 games. He also gets more even strength ice time than Clarke MacArthur. That makes perfect sense.
  • Jason Spezza has 11 points in eight games since the Ales Hemsky trade.
  • Cody Ceci has 7 points in 38 games and makes a lot of defensive mistakes but is somehow a factor in keeping Patrick Wiercioch out.

Here are some stats for the two teams tonight.

Category Ottawa Tampa Bay
Player # Player #
Goals Bobby Ryan 23 Valtteri Filppula 24
Assists Erik Karlsson 46 Victor Hedman 35
Points Erik Karlsson 65 Valtteri Filppula 53
Shots Erik Karlsson 226 Alex Killorn 151
Average Ice time Erik Karlsson 27:15 Victor Hedman 22:24

Category Ottawa Tampa Bay
# Rank # Rank
Goals For 2.80 10th 2.89 8th
Goals Against 3.30 29th 2.59 12th
Corsi Close % 51.9% 10th 51.6% 11th
Fenwick Close % 50.7% 13th 51.7% 10th
Shots For 32.6 4th 29.6 18th
Shots Against 34.5 28th 29.3 13th

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