Thursday, October 20th, 2011
SNET-SENS, Team 1200
Battle of The Basement
The Winnipeg Jets pay their first visit to Ottawa since the former Atlanta Thrashers moved to Winnipeg in the off season. Both teams are struggling, as they sit 14th and 15th respectively in the Eastern Conference. However, the teams are coming into Thursday’s games with a different mindset.
Winnipeg is coming in on a relative high, having gained points in their last two games. They won at home on Monday night over the Pittsburgh Penguins, followed by a SO loss to the Toronto Maple Leafs last night. The three points they gained in those two games are the only points they have earned this season, having lost their first three games.
Ottawa, on the other hand, has dropped its last three games. Included in the losing streak is the 7-1 and 7-2 drubbings they have suffered in their last two home games against Colorado and Philadelphia respectively.
Sergei Gonchar and Jesse Winchester will be in the lineup after missing various amounts of time with injuries. Brian Lee and probably either Zenon Konopka or Erik Condra will come out of the lineup.
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Winnipeg: Mark Scheifele, C – The 7th overall selection in this past summer’s NHL draft, has shown flashes of brilliance in his quest to remain with the Jets for the entire season. He led the whole NHL in preseason goals, but didn’t score his first NHL goal until last night. His ice time has fluctuated, from a season low 7:06 in Tuesday’s win to a season high 16:22 last Saturday.
Ottawa: Mika Zibanejad, C – Selected one spot ahead of Scheifele, Zibanejad is in the same boat, trying to prove he is ready for full-time NHL duty. Zibanejad has registered one assist in his 6 games as his ice time has been a more consistent 11-14 minutes per night.
Both teams expect more, but are young and inconsistent. It will be interesting to see what effect Tuesday’s post-game player’s only meeting will have on the team, and how the young players respond to the pleas from internal team leadership for more consistent effort and accountability. After getting shelled against Colorado, deserving a better result in Washington and then coming back home to get humiliated again, it is difficult to predict which Senators team will show up.
Watch the game and find out!
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