Sens Week Ahead: Jan 24 to 30
Two to go before the break
Prev game : @Hurricanes, Friday, January 22nd
Hot : Derek Stepan - 5P (1G, 4A) in last 4 GP
Cold : Derick Brassard - 0P in last 4 GP
The season's narrative for the Rangers has been a team that was riding the unsustainable to their current success. While the play of Henrik Lundqvist could be expected to remain sustainable at a bit higher level, their shooting percentage sits at the top of the league. This was backed up - or rather, not backed up - by dismal possession numbers.
Recently though? Their shooting percentage is still a little on the high end, but has definitely come back down a bit. But more important, their possession numbers have been heading upwards. In their last 25 games, they've been an even 50% at 5 on 5, and have posted even higher numbers in the past 10 games. They're still not going to be confused for a possession driving powerhouse, but firmly positive numbers with a goaltender like King Henrik backing them up makes them a far more serious threat than they probably were before.
Speaking of Henrik Lundqvist, he has been on fire lately. In the past two weeks, he's posted a 0.947 save percentage. He's not quite having a career year, but he is sitting just above his career average at the moment.
Sabres @ Senators
Prev game : @Rangers, Monday, January 25th
Cold : Matt Moulson - 0P in last 18 GP
Newsflash: the Buffalo Sabres still stink. Oh, they're better than last year. Much better. But that's a very low bar to clear.
The biggest change is that they're no longer the absolute worst in the league at just about everything. They aren't worst in the league at pretty much anything. Actually, their power play has seen quite a bit of success and sits at seventh overall with a success rate of just over 20%.
Their goals against are way down as well, by just under 0.7 goals per game - a difference of over 30 goals to this point in the season. This is despite losing Robin Lehner as the starter in the first game of the year against Ottawa until just last week. Lehner has played pretty well in his three games since coming back, but hasn't managed to post a win despite his 0.937 save percentage in that time frame.
It is a back to back, so it might be Chad Johnson facing the Sens. Johnson has posted respectable numbers while Lehner was out. A 0.920 save percentage isn't world-beating, but it is solid.