Week Ahead: III - October 15 to 21

Ottawa plays the Canucks again before taking on the high-flying Devils (?!) and Leafs.

Tuesday, October 17th 7:30 PM

Prev game : Flames, Saturday, October 14th (5-2 L)
Next game : @Bruins, Thursday, October 19th

Hot : -
Cold : Everyone
Injured : Brendan Gaunce (IR - shoulder), Alexander Edler (IR - MCL)

Last week, I thought that the Canucks would be the easiest opponent; the Sens didn’t find it that way. After romping through Alberta with back-to-back six goal outbursts, Ottawa faces a Vancouver squad that lost 5-2 to the Flames, and more importantly, lost top-pairing defender Alex Edler to injury.

Last Tuesday, the Sens won the shot share with everyone on the ice except Hoffman - Pageau - Pyatt. Even looking at the game’s shot locations, if it wasn’t for Jakob Markstrom (who got shelled in the ‘Nucks last contest), Ottawa should’ve won in regulation. Edler’s absence will cause a ripple effect through Vancouver’s top-four, and will likely lead to Ben Hutton moving up in his absence. Look for Guy Boucher to try and take advantage of that at home.

Thursday, October 19th 7:30 PM

Prev game : Lightning, Tuesday, October 17th
Next game : Sharks, Friday, October 20th

Hot : Will Butcher - 8P (8A) in 5 games, Jesper Bratt - 6P (3G, 3A) in 5 games
Cold : Damon Severson - 1P (1A) in 5 games
Injured : Travis Zajac (IR - chest), Brian Boyle (IR - leukemia), Michael McLeod (IR - knee)

I don’t think I was alive when the New Jersey Devils were this exciting, and interestingly, it’s been their college free agent (Butcher) and late-round pick (Bratt), producing over their first-round picks (Hischier, Zacha). John Hynes’ players have been excellent at getting to the ‘U-shaped’ area around the net, often trying to beat defenders wide with speed or with cross-ice passes in the offensive zone.

Now, the Devils — widely expected to be at the bottom of the Metropolitan division — have been on a hot streak in terms of both shooting percentage and save percentage this season. Basically: it’s easy to win games when you’re shooting 12% (average ~8%) and your goaltenders are stopping 96% of the pucks (average - 91-92%), but that kind of stuff can happen over short periods. The Bratt line (with Adam Henrique and Taylor Hall) have definitely been the most dangerous — who should Boucher utilize to contain them?

Saturday, October 21st 7:00 PM

Prev game : Wings, Wednesday, October 18th
Next game : Kings, Monday, October 23rd

Hot : Auston Matthews - 8P (5G, 3A) in 5 games
Cold : -
Injured : Joffrey Lupul (IR), Nathan Horton (IR)

The Leafs have started off the season strong, and have been a part of many high-scoring games. Basically, they’re who many expected them to be this season: high-end forwards, ‘okay’ defenders, and a goalie. Their offensive zone strategy? Skip the perimeter and take the highway straight down to the front of the net, where they’ve been flooding opposing goaltenders with high-danger shots. With eight players hovering around a point-per-game to start the season, Ottawa will need #TheSystem to be in full effect in order to try and contain Toronto’s firepower.

In net, Freddie Andersen has started the year with a .880sv%, likely owing a bit to a few goals he’d like back and the high-danger chances the Leafs have been allowing in the middle of the ice. Of course, now that I’m expecting a high-scoring contest, the game will actually end 2-1 in a shootout, but this has the potential to be a fun instalment in the Battle of Ontario.

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