Friday, December 23rd, 2011
Sportsnet, Team 1200
15th East (10-19-6)@ 7th East (17-14-4)
The Ottawa Senators travel to face the Carolina Hurricanes tonight. The Canes are coming off a 4-3 loss to the Phoenix Coyotes that has plumetted them down to the bottom of the Eastern Conference. The Sens on the other hand are climbing after a 4-3 OT win at home against the Panthers yesterday. This is the third meeting between these clubs, with Ottawa coming away with the win in the two previous matches. Ottawa is hoping to strengthen their hold on a playoff position with a win today.
Carolina is still led in scoring by last year’s Calder Trophy winner Jeff Skinner who has 24 points (12G 12A) on the season. Their captain Eric Staal has started racking up points as of late and is currently tied for 2nd on the team in points with 20 along with Jussi Jokinen. However, Staal still continues to sport the team’s worst +/- at an ugly -21. Goaltender Cam Ward has also been struggling as of late which could explain the Canes fall in the standings. His SV% has dropped to .896 with a GAA of 3.31. Carolina’s starting goalie has yet to be confirmed, but I’d expect it to be Ward. Whoever it is will be facing Craig Anderson for Ottawa.
Jesse Winchester and Milan Michalek will be out for Ottawa this game with both recovering from concussions. One of the Sens’ defencemen will also be a healthy scratch tonight (most likely Brian Lee or Matt Carkner). For Carolina, they will be without leading scorer Jeff Skinner and defenceman Joni Pitkanen, both recovering from concussions as well. Center Tim Brent is also out for Carolina with an undisclosed injury.
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Kyle Turris, C (OTT) – Let’s be honest, for the next few games this is definitely the player that the majority of Sens fans will be keeping a close eye on. Can he be the answer for the Sens much needed 2nd line center?
Eric Staal, C (CAR) – With Skinner out of the lineup, the pressure rests on Staal’s shoulders to produce. This is the time for him to step up to the plate for his team and lead the way.
THINGS TO LOOK OUT FOR
1. EK65 – Erik Karlsson has begun to run away with the defencemen scoring lead. He stands at 33 points and his closest competitor Shea Weber is at 28. Will he build on the lead tonight against a struggling Canes team?
2. Mike Hoffman - This will be Hoffman’s first NHL game. It’s always fun to watch a prospect take it in. It will be interesting to see the amount of ice time he gets under MacLean.
3. The Butler Did It – Coming off a GWG in OT, fans hope that Butler can finally get into a groove and start consistently scoring. You know MacLean will probably give him a shot on the top 6 to start the game against Carolina.
Be sure to check back here on SenShot for a complete recap after the game. GO SENS GO!!!
Thanks for reading and as always, comments are welcomed.
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