The Ottawa Senators, fresh off a win over the Atlanta Thrashers return home to take on the 8th place New York Rangers in a Friday night tilt. Ottawa will likely start Craig Anderson again, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see Curtis McIlhinney in the net after Anderson’s 42 saves last night.
Both teams were on opposite ends of 3-1 games last night, with Ottawa defeating Atlanta, while the Rangers fell at home to the Minnesota Wild. The Rangers are slowly sliding the wrong way in the standings and could very soon find themselves on the outside looking in. They are currently in 8th place, leading Buffalo by 2 points and Toronto by 3. After tonight the Sabres will have 4 games in hand and the Leafs 2, so this is a must win game for the Rangers if there ever was one.
This season, the teams have split the 2 games played, with both teams winning in the other teams rink. The Senators defeated the Rangers 3-1 on December 5th, while the Rangers won the return match four days later, by a 5-3 score.
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Brian Boyle - The huge (6’7″, 240 lb) centre has exploded this season with 20 goals and 32 points, both way beyond his previous career highs. His off-season skating workouts with former Canadian Olympic figurs skater Barb Underhill have paid dividends. Leads the Rangers in goals as well as hits.
Erik Karlsson - The All-Star has struggled mightily in recent games, recording only 4 points in his last 11 games, and is a league worst -32 this season. He will look to turn it around against the team he made his NHL debut and scored his first NHL point against. Despite recent struggles still leads the team in scoring with Jason Spezza closing in.
LAST 5 GAMES
|PP||6/19 (31.5%)||3/16 (18.8%)|
|PK||14/18 (77.8%)||14/14 (100%)|
THREE KEYS TO A SENS VICTORY
1. Ignore Sean Avery – The Senators let another pest (Partick Kaleta) get tin their heads last week, resulting in a loss. They need to let Avery be Avery and not get involved with his antics, or run around seeking retribution.
2. Stay out of the Box – The Senators PK has been perfect over the last 6 games, but averaging less than 3 attempts per game has helped. As has Craig Anderson. But the Rangers’ power play is the one thing that has been working for them lately.
3. Drive to the net – A large percentage of Ottawa’s goals lately have been a result of getting bodies in the dirty areas and bothering opposing goalies. Lundqvist is not going to get beat on many shots that he can see.
CHECK HERE AFTER THE GAME FOR COMPLETE POST GAME ANALYSIS!
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