Game Day: OTT @ ATL

(29-37-9, 15th East)

VS.

(31-31-12, 11th East)

The Ottawa Senators head back out on the road after a brief one game home stand, when they travel to Georgia to face the Atlanta Thrashers for a Sunday matinee (2:00 pm puck drop).  On a two game winning streak, Ottawa is on the verge of passing the Florida Panthers for the Eastern Conference basement.  Ottawa trails Florida by a single point for 14th place.  Passing the Panthers would move the Senators into 27th place overall, and a lower chance of getting the first overall pick in June’s entry draft.  Atlanta has recently struggled, and although they are not mathematically eliminated, they trail 8th place Buffalo by 9 points with 9 games remaining.  So this is an absolute must win game if they have any hope at all of extending their already infinitely slim playoff hopes.  Craig Anderson will be in the net again coming off his 31-save shutout of the  Washington CapitalsChris Mason has started the last two games for the Thrashers, but Ondrej Pavelic could return to the net.

This will be the fourth and final meeting between the clubs, with Atlanta winning two (one in OT) and Ottawa winning one so far.  Atlanta is led by offense from its defense, as they have 2 of the top 5 scoring defensemen in the league in Dustin Byfuglien and Tobias Enstrom.

PLAYERS TO WATCH

OTTAWA

Milan Michalek – Played a great game upon his return from a broken foot against Washington.  The speedster didn’t look like he had missed a beat.  Needs 4 goals in Ottawa’s last 7 games to reach the 20 goal mark for the 5th consecutive season.

NEW YORK

Evander Kane – The emerging power forward is in his second year with the Thrashers, and is still only 19.  He is on the verge of his first 20-goal season as he enters the game with 18, despite missing 10 games.

LAST 5 GAMES

  OTT ATL
RECORD 4-1-0 2-3-0
GOALS FOR 12 10
GOALS AGAINST 9 19
PP 1/14 (7.1%) 1/15 (6.7%)
PK 13/14 (92.9%) 12/15 (80.0%)

THREE KEYS TO A SENATORS VICTORY

Early Attack – The Thrashers still have slim playoff hope, but Ottawa jumping on them early could crush what little confidence they have left.

Power up the Power Play – Atlanta has the league’s worst penalty kill, so the Senators should play with some PP confidence.

Playing for the Coach – Like it or not, this last streak could be saving Clouston’s job.  If they really like playing for the coach, they will continue to excel for him.  It is amazing what how much better a coach looks when he has a goalie who can stop the puck.

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