November 28 2013 02:58PM
The next time these two teams meet, they'll be wearing these bad boys.
I spent far too long trying to think of an angle to run with in previewing Thursday's tilt between the Canucks and Senators, and honestly, it didn't result in anything overly productive. These two teams will be playing again on March 2nd in an arena that may or may not be open (depending on the rain)? They'll be wearing cool uniforms, and the entire thing is a fun gimmick which I'm sure we'll talk a ton about when the times, but.. the opponent makes it seem like there's a drop-off in importance. Especially after having played the Blackhawks and Kings in the past week.
How about the fact that the Senators have 3 guys from BC (Kyle Turris is from New Westminster, Patrick Wiercioch is from Burnaby, and Derek Grant is from Abbotsford)? Not exactly an attention-grabber. The last time the Canucks were in Ottawa Dale Weise scored a sweet goal? I can already feel myself losing the audience.
Let's go with this: the Ottawa Senators have been playing an entertaining, if not successful, style of hockey this season. They give up a lot of goals, they score a lot of goals, and they may be just what the Canucks need to get going offensively. They've also got a ton of interesting subplots surrounding their individual players, and I'll try to touch on as many of them as possible past the jump.
Puck Drop: 4:30 PM PDT
TV: Rogers Sportsnet Vancouver
In case you missed Monday night's game against the Kings, the Canucks utilized their 182302302120th different lineup of the season. I've attached the line combinations below just so you can visualize it (thanks to our friends over at Daily Faceoff):
it was actually pretty successful in its debut showing. David Booth seemed to have his legs back, looking kinda sorta dangerous. Dale Weise was probably the team's best player, which would normally be quite damning, but on that particular night it was very well deserved. He was all over the place. The 4th line featuring Kassian and Sestito threw their bodies around, starting a kerfuffle and a half that ultimately concluded with Ryan Stanton throwing down with Jordan Nolan.
Unfortunately Ben Scrivens was really good on that night, and kept the theme of "lots of shots, few goals" going for the 2013-14 Canucks. As I mentioned in the preamble, the Ottawa Senators haven't been able to stop a nosebleed this season, and if we're going to see some of those shots start converting into goals, this is as good a time as any.
Here's how those very Ottawa Senators will look:
Some thoughts on the Sens:
-Rememeber when Craig Anderson stopped 94.1% of the shots he faced during last year's shortened campaign? And people started to talk about him potentially starting for the US in Sochi? Well, then. He's rockin' an .899 save %, and 3.36 GAA on the year. He has given up at least 4 goals in 8 of his 16 starts this season (and would've surely given up 4+ in another, if not for being pulled early).
I know he was great for them last season, and they're financially committed to him right now, but top goaltending prospect Robin Lehner is surely a better option at the moment. It'll be interesting to see how long a leash they give Anderson if he continues to struggle. I'd venture to guess that it won't be much longer at this rate..
-Erik Karlsson is really, really, really, really good, but you already knew that.. especially if you own him in a pool. He has 26 points in 25 games (with 12 of them coming on the PP), is on pace for nearly 240 shots on goal, and is playing just a tad under 28 minutes a night. Those are video game numbers.
-The Senators seemed to be a trendy team in the offseason. In fact, Rob Vollman had them as his favourite to win the President's Trophy. It's safe to say that's not happening, given their 10-11-4 record to start the season. After being a 52.2% Fenwick Close team last season, they're all the way down to 47.9% this year, which is good for 23rd in the league. Weird, considering how much their coach Paul MacLean has stressed the value of possession in the past.
-What on earth is happening to Jason Spezza? I feel like we should be talking a lot more about how dreadful he has been this season, but I guess his 21 points in 24 games are masking his cratering underlying numbers. He is getting absolutely massacred at 5v5 this year, and only 4 defensemen (who have all played significantly more minutes than him) have been on the ice for more goals against. I can't even imagine how bad the Senators would be without their MacArthur-Turris-Ryan line, which has probably been amongst the best 10 lines in the entire league.
THE NUMBERS GAME
|Corsi Close %||47.9% (22nd)||53.3% (6th)|
|5v5 GF/60||2.54 (8th)||2.38 (10th)|
|5v5 GA/60||2.59 (24th)||2.19 (14th)|
|PDO||100.9 (9th)||99.3 (18th)|
|5v4 GF/60||7.08 (14th)||3.53 (28th)|
|5v4 SF/60||60.9 (6th)||64.4 (2nd)|
|4v5 GA/60||7.72 (2nd)||3.10 (1st)|
|4v5 SA/60||52.5 (18th)||43.0 (2nd)|
GAME DAY LINKS
- Tale of the Tape [via CDC]
- Darren Archibald delivers an amazing hit, but he's no Tom Sestito! [via Pass it to Bulis]
- The fit between Kyle Turris and the Senators has been perfect. [via Ben Kuzma]
- Hey, something we've been saying for weeks now! [via Tyler Dellow]
- Preview from a Senators perspective. [via Travis Yost]
Capital Punishment - 6.50-to-1 odds on the Canucks scoring in all 3 periods en route to a win.
Sedin on the Sens - 4.25-to-1 odds on a Daniel Sedin goal spurring a win by the Canucks.
*Don't forget to sign up with the Canucks Army promo code "CANUCKSARMY" to receive $25 worth of free bets.