Game Day: Ottawa @ Pittsburgh

Friday, November 25th, 2011

7:00 pm

Rogers Sportsnet, Team 1200

11th East (10-9-2)@ 1st East (12-6-4)

 

After a 4 day layoff, the Ottawa Senators head out on the road once again for the third segment of the 6 game “road trip” that saw them return home twice between games.  It has been a successful trip so far, earning 7 of a possible 10 points. 

The Pittsburgh Penguins fulfill the hosting duties, and they are lifted by the return on Monday of Sidney Crosby, who missed the first 20 games of the season (and the last 41 of last season) suffering from post-concussion syndrome.  They didn’t miss a beat without their captain, and they sit in first place in the Eastern Conference.

James Neal has provided the goal-scoring (2nd in NHL with 13 goals) in Crosby’s absence and the support has come in the form of Evgeni Malkin and Kris Letang, who are also having good years.

Marc-Andre Fleury provides great goaltending, and he will likely be the starter opposite Craig Anderson.  Anderson enjoyed having the four day break, which allowed him to fully recover from a stiff neck that forced him to miss the Vancouver game.

PLAYERS TO WATCH

Jared Cowen, D (OTT) -Cowen gets his first chance to face the Penguins, one of the top forward units in the NHL.  The rookie will get a chance to show his shut-down ability against the likes of Crosby, Malkin, Staal and Neal and give them a hard time for the first of what will be many years of upcoming battles.

 

Sidney Crosby, C (PIT) – Sid made a splash in his return on Monday, netting a pair of goals and adding two assists.  He was held pointless in his second game against the Blues, but is still averageing 2 points per game.  He will be in the spotlight all game and will be a focus of the commentary.

 

3 KEYS TO A SENATORS VICTORY

1. Solid D -The Senators have dramatically cut down on their goals against in recent games, and that will have to continue.  They do not want to get in a shootout with the high end talent on the Penguins roster, nor do they want to rely on a third period comeback to try to win this one.

2.  Top-end talent must show up –   Jason Spezza, Colin Greening and Milan Michalek will likely be matched up against Crosby all night, and he and his linemates must make the Penguins top players spend time in their own end.

3.  Craig Anderson – Anderson has a career record of 2-1-1 against the Penguins, with a sub-2.00 GAA.  He has won his last three starts overall and has apparently turned a corner after an up and down start.  He must be a star in the game if the Senators are going to win.

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