Game 8 Preview and Open Thread: Ottawa Senators @ Florida Panthers
Let the rivalry begin (again)
- Looking at the stats tables below, I have good news and bad news for you. The good news: Ottawa has gotten much closer to Florida in overall team quality since last year. The bad news: the Panthers have underperformed their expected outcomes significantly so far and will break out offensively against an unsuspecting opponent very soon.
- While Ottawa’s special teams conversions outrank Florida’s, the Cats give up less on the penalty kill (7.08 xGA/60 to Ottawa’s 7.30) and generate more on the powerplay (9.17 xGF/60 to Ottawa’s 7.62). Again, much closer than last year, but Florida has the better expected rates to Ottawa’s better conversions to date.
- The same applies at five-on-five where the Cats give up less on defence (2.10 xGA/60 to Ottawa’s 2.36) and generate almost as much as the Sens (2.88 xGF/60 to Ottawa’s 3.00).
- Folks know the Panthers have a very good team now and the Sens won’t take their opponent lightly but they should probably also prepare for a considerable uptick in Florida’s shooting percentage one of these days.
- It bodes well then, that Ottawa has gotten slightly better goaltending to date than Florida.
- Obviously all eyes will be on Brady and Matthew Tkachuk as their rivalry ignites anew, now as division foe. Both brothers lead their respective teams in goals but Ottawa has a more diverse distribution of statistical leaders in other categories (it feels so foreign seeing a player other than Brady lead the Sens in shots (and it also feels off seeing a defender other than Aaron Ekblad leading the Panthers in ATOI)) while Matthew leads his team in most offensive categories.
- Speaking of Ekblad, he remains on the injured reserve for Florida (along with Anthony Duclair) while Artem Zub joins Josh Norris in the Senators’ infirmary.
- And finally, if you know anything about me then you know that I’ll have my eyes on Colin White (and to a much lesser extent Rudolfs Balcers) throughout this game. Chris Tierney and Michael Del Zotto have spent the season to date with Florida’s AHL affiliate in Charlotte./
Where to watch/listen: TVAS2, TSN5, TSN1200 @4PM EST
Lines from last game:
DeBrincat - Brassard - Giroux
Motte - Pinto - Joseph
Kelly - Kastelic - Watson
Chabot - Zub*
Brännström - Zaitsev
Sanderson - Hamonic
Balcers - Bennett - Reinhart
Luostarinen - Lundell - White
Lomberg - Staal - Hornqvist
Forsling - Montour
Mahura - Gudas
Staal - Kiersted
|Assists||Drake Batherson||7||Matthew Tkachuk||6|
|Shots||Alex DeBrincat||35||Matthew Tkachuk||39|
|TOI||Thomas Chabot||25:30||Brandon Montour||25:18|