Tuesday, November 29th, 2011
Rogers Sportsnet, Team 1200
A quick stop at home for a win over the Carolina Hurricanes, and the Ottawa Senators are back on the road, heading west again. The first stop on the trip is a return to Winnipeg to face the Jets. The re-located Atlanta franchise has only played 8 of their 23 games at home, where they sport an impressive 5-3 record. They have won their last 3 games in the friendly confines of MTS Centre.
The two clubs are very evenly matched, in terms of goals for and against, as well as power play and penalty killing percentages. In the first meeting of the season between the clubs, Ottawa used 2 goals from Milan Michalek as well as singles from Jason Spezza and Daniel Alfredsson to defeat the Jets 4-1.
The Jets’ defense corps has been hit hard by injuries as Ron Hainsey, Randy Jones, Derek Meech, Tobias Enstrom and Brett Festerling are all on IR, with only Hainsey as a possibility to suit up against the Senators. They will be relying heavily on Dustin Byfuglien, Johnny Oduya, Zach Bogosian and Mark Stuart to log big minutes on the back end.
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Filip Kuba, D (OTT) – Kuba was much maligned last season for sub-standard play, but has emerged as a steadying influence and his pairing with Erik Karlsson has allowed the young Swede to emerge as one of the league’s top defensemen. Kuba plays all aspects of the game and is a prime penalty killer.
Evander Kane, LW (WPG) – After spending the first 5 games of the season trying to find a spot in the lineup, Kane has been the Jets’ best and most consistent forward. The winger, who won Gold with Team Canada at the World Junior Championships in Ottawa, leads the Jets with 10 goals and is second on the team with 16 points. He is finally emerging as the power forward that many expected him to be when he was drafted 4th overall in the 2009 draft.
3 KEYS TO A SENATORS VICTORY
1. Get the crowd out of the game – The MTS Centre might be the smallest arena in terms of seating, but every one will be full and the Jets fans have been boistrous and loud, as they have been at every home game so far. Taking them out of the game as early as possible will help pave the way for a win.
2. Contain Byfuglien – Dustin Byfuglien is a tank and although he is not off to the blistering start he had last year, he is still a load to deal with all over the ice. He is a riverboat gambler who is big, strong and has a cannon of a shot.
3. Solve Pavelic – The Jets goalie has allowed 3 or more goals in each of his last 3 starts (1 W, 1L, 1 OTL). With the inconsistent goaltending Ottawa has received, the Senators best chance is to get 4 or more past Ondrej Pavelic.
Thanks for reading and as always, comments are welcomed.
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