Game Day: OTT @ FLA - Battle For The Basement

(29-38-10, 15th East)

VS.

(29-36-12, 13th East)

Fresh off a loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning, the Ottawa Senators head across the state to take on the Florida Panthers in their penultimate road game of the season.  The Panthers are coming off a dreadful five game road trip where they lost every game, garnering only 2 points from shootout losses.  The loser of this game will have the inside track to the 28th spot, and the likely 3rd overall pick in the upcoming draft (but the New York Islanders will have something to say about that as well).  Craig Anderson will return to the net for the Senators, while workhorse Thomas Vokoun is hurting with back spasms so it will likely be Scott Clemmensen in the Panthers’ cage.

This will be the fourth and final meeting between the clubs. Ottawa has the chance for the clean sweep as they have won all three previous meetings this season.  Ottawa has owned Vokoun in his career, so it is unfortunate that they will not likely face him.  Clemmensen is 3-1 in 4 career starts agains the Senators.

PLAYERS TO WATCH

OTTAWA

David Hale – The former 1st round pick of the Devils has had an impact in his 20 games this season.  In his second recall this season, he has played 20 games with meaningful minutes, showing that he deserves an NHL job next season, somewhere.  He is a team leading +4 on the season, and the Senators are 12-7-1 with him in the lineup.

FLORIDA

David Booth – Booth has had a tough season recovering from the devastating hit from Mike Richards last season.  In 2008-09 the power forward put up a career high 31 goals and 60 points in 77 games.  This year, he has struggled to match those numbers and has only scored 39 points.  His 22 goals, however, would be leading the Senators this season.

LAST 5 GAMES

OTT FLA
RECORD 2-2-1 0-3-2
GOALS FOR 12 10
GOALS AGAINST 14 19
PP 0/12 (0.0%) 1/9 (11.1%)
PK 16/16 (100%) 11/13 (84.6%)

THREE KEYS TO A SENATORS VICTORY

Special Teams – Don’t expect many Power Play goals as both teams are in the bottom third on the PP and the top third in penalty killing.  Whoever can get their power play on track will win the game.  For six straight Senators games there have been no special teams goals.

Anderson’s Return – The Senators have largely played well in front of their new #1, but his confidence and stability have buoyed the team in front of him just as much.

Gunning for 20 – Jason Spezza and Milan Michalek each need 3 goals to crack the 20 boal barrier.  One of them needs to get there to avoid team embarassment.

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