A playoff spot is within grasp with a little luck and, if the next game is always the biggest game, tonight is the biggest game of the year for the Senators as they get ready to host the Penguins. Now that we're inside two hours to puck drop it's time to get you caught up to speed. These are your Gameday Preview Bits.
With the absences of Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, et al., tonight, the Penguins' star power will largely left up to their big deadline acquisitions who have yet to play the Sens as a member of their new team: Brenden Morrow and Jarome Iginla.
Coming from the Western Conference with plenty of accolades and big reputations, the Sens haven't actually had many opportunities to face Morrow or Iginla over the last few years. Luckily for the Sens blueline, Marc Methot had plenty of opportunity to play them during his time in Columbus and should offer some insight as to how you go about handling them.
He offered some thoughts as to what they bring to that Penguins team in spite of the absences they currently have...
In the NHL, shooting percentages can fluctuate massively. Players will a conversion rate anywhere from the low single digits to the low 20s attached to their names, and at times there's no real explanation, you simply have to wait to see if things will stabilize.
In the case of the Sens, it may not come as a shock to many that the team is a below league average squad when it comes to shooting the puck. During this 2013 season, the Sens have scored at a 6.7 per cent success rate, roughly 2.5 percent below what the NHL average has been league-wide.More below the jump...
The Senators, with a little help, could clinch a playoff berth tonight as they take on the Pittsburgh Penguins while the Winnipeg Jets are in Buffalo to take on the Sabres. A Sens win coupled with a Jets regulation loss means Ottawa clinches a postseason spot.
The Sens say that they'll be going with the same lineup that put 50 shots on goal against the Toronto Maple Leafs on Saturday night. Paul MacLean said that a similar performance on Monday would get a better result than it did Saturday. There is a touch of confusion over who will occupy the third line wing spot between Matt Kassian and Guillaume Latendresse however. As things stand Kassian is in, but every indication after this morning's skate suggested it would be 73 instead. We will see what is ultimately decided after warmups.
Here's how the Sens will look to start...
With Coach MacLean announcing no lineup changes from Saturday's game for Monday night, we can safely state that Craig Anderson will be the starting goaltender with the Pittsburgh Penguins in town.
More below the jump.
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A hot goalie can make all the difference and that's how it played out on Saturday night as James Reimer carried the Leafs to a 4-1 victory over the Ottawa Senators.
All told the Sens had 90 attempts on goal (50 shots, 27 blocked shots, 13 missed shots) but Reimer and their defensive corps held up, limiting the Sens to just a single goal. The Sens dominated the possession but ultimately couldn't convert the necessary number of times to come away with a victory.
Sens Head Coach Paul MacLean echoed that sentiment during his post-game media availability, crediting the play of James Reimer and stressing the need for the team to get more bodies to the net in an effort to force second and third chances. He did acknowledge that similar efforts will produce wins more often than not, but with only four games left this season there are only so many chances to get those efforts out there. The race to the finish is very much underway.
Here's a rundown of Coach MacLean's thoughts...
We're two hours away from the biggest game of the year for the Sens and you're no doubt itching to get going too. With that, let's get you caught up to speed and prep you for the Battle of Ontario (5th edition).
It'll be a big game tonight when the Sens and Leafs square off for the fifth and final time this season. Toronto has take three of the four games this year, so the Sens will be particularly amped to bring one back in what is sure to be a buzzing atmosphere.
The Sens will keep the bulk of their lineup from their previous four games in tact with one change. Matt Kassian will draw back into the squad with Guillaume Latendresse checking out. The Sens would clearly like some more grit in there given the way Toronto has played their opponents this season.
No Erik Karlsson for those of you who were shaking in your chairs waiting to find out if maybe, just maybe, this miracle recovery could go that much further.
Here's how the lineup will look to start...
With the fifth edition of the Battle of Ontario going tonight and crucial playoff positioning on the line, the Sens will turn to Craig Anderson in goal when the puck drops against the Toronto Maple Leafs.
More below the jump.