Sens Week Ahead: Dec 13 to 19

Four game, four team week.

Senators @ Bruins

Game 29, Saturday, December 13th, 1:00pm
Previous game
Blackhawks, Thursday, December 11th
Next game
@Predators, Tuesday, December 16th
Brad Marchand - 5P (2G, 3A) in last 3 GP
Chris Kelly - 0P in last 6 GP

The Bruins have been struggling so far this season, at least relative to expectations. They're barely holding on to the second wild card spot at the moment. Scoring is at the low end of the league at 21st, and goals against are up almost a goal every two games from last season.

The defensive end recently got a much needed boost with the return of Zdeno Chara on Thursday night, after missing 19 games. While mostly healthy at the moment, injuries have been a real problem for Boston's blue line this season. It's easier to list the defensemen that haven't been out injured this season - Dougie Hamilton and Dennis Seidenberg. Every other one has missed time this season.

Tukka Rask is posting the worst numbers of his career as a starter this season. The .910 SV% and 2.56 GAA are both noticeably worse than his career averages. Backup Niklas Svedberg has posted respectable numbers, though in limited time against mostly weaker competition.

Adam McQuaid and David Krejci are on IR along with the unfortunate Marc Savard. Simon Gagne is out for personal reasons.

Senators @ Sabres

Game 30, Monday, December 15th, 7:00pm
Previous game
Panthers, Saturday, December 13th
Next game
@Jets, Tuesday, December 16th
Tyler Ennis - 4P (1G, 3A) in last 2 GP
Tyler Myers - 0P in last 4 GP

Don't look now, but the Sabres are winning. They're 7-3-0 in their last 10 games, pulling them five points out of last place.

Is this something that can reasonably continue, though? Well... no. Not too likely. Their 5 on 5 Corsi in the last 10 games has actually been lower than their season average, and they've had an insane 1.06 PDO over that same stretch.

Jhonas Enroth has been playing well above his career numbers in that stretch, posting a .944 SV% and only two games below .930. Their shooting percentage is way up as well, pushing 10% where their season average is below 8%.

This is a team that is pulling out wins despite terrible play, and it's bound to end sooner or later. Hopefully sooner.

Cody McCormick is day-to-day, and Matt Hackett is on IR.

Senators @ Devils

Game 31, Wednesday, December 17th, 7:00pm
Previous game
@Islanders, Monday, December 15th
Next game
Lightning, Friday, December 19th
Scott Gomez - 3P (3A) in last 3 GP
Michael Ryder - 0P in last 4 GP

The Devils come in to the week tied with the Sens in points, but with a pair of more games played.

There's something to be said about a team who has a 42 year old as their leading scorer, even if that 42 year old is future hall of famer Jaromir Jagr. Slightly more promising is Adam Henrique, a single point behind Jagr with several fewer games played.

Cory Schneider is having a so-so season, sitting a bit below starter average at .918 SV%. Scott Clemmensen has been a disaster in what little playing time he's had as backup, though Keith Kinkaid has been very good in very limited time on ice.

The special teams are going opposite ways. The power play has been good at 21.8% and 9th in the league. On the other side, the penalty kill has been pretty terrible at 76.1% and 27th.

Ryane Clowe, Bryce Salvador, Travis Zajac, Adam Larsson, and Patrik Elias are all on IR, with Dainius Zubrus day-to-day.

Ducks @ Senators

Game 32, Friday, December 19th, 7:30pm
Previous game
@Canadiens, Thursday, December 18th
Next game
Sharks, Monday, December 22nd
Ryan Getzlaf - 12P (3G, 9A) in last 6 GP
Frederik Andersen - .904 SV% in last 10 GP

The Ducks are hands down the toughest team the Sens will face this week - they're first in the league.

The question for those who don't follow Anaheim very closely is how. They aren't doing it with crazy SH% or SV%, both are pretty average. If anything, starter Frederik Andersen is holding them back. Same for the special teams, with both the power play and penalty kill sitting near the middle of the pack. It's definitely not their possession numbers - they're actually sub 50% CF.

Given the goaltending situation in Anaheim, it's possible that Ilya Bryzgalov will get the nod against Ottawa. He's playing for their AHL affiliate this weekend, but could very well be with the team for their Eastern swing this coming week.

Sheldon Souray, Ben Lovejoy, John Gibson, Dany Heatley, Francois Beauchemin, Eric Brewer and Corey Perry are all on IR.

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