Monday, January 2, 2012
Rogers Sportsnet, Team 1200
The Ottawa Senators welcome 2012 by opening their New Year with a very important matchup against the New Jersey Devils. The clubs are currently tied (along with the Winnipeg Jets) for 6th-8th place in the Eastern Conference, but the Senators have played more games than those teams they are battling with. This means the Sens cannot afford to drop any points as they are also being chased closely by Washington and Toronto, who also have games in hand.
The Devils and Senators have both won two games in a row, setting up this 4 point game. Ilya Kovalchuk had a goal and two assists in Saturday’s 3-1 win over the Penguins, and is second in team scoring to Patrick Elias. Kovy has had 2 or more points in 5 of his last 8 contests.
Just when people started to think that Martin Brodeur‘s dominance might at an end, the NHL’s all-time winningest goalie has put together another solid streak with 5 wins in his last 6 starts. However, the last time he was chased from a game was the December 8th game when the Senators put two by him and he was replaced after the first period. New Jersey ended up winning that game 5-4 in a shootout. That was the only time the two clubs have met so far this season.
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Travis Zajac, C (NJD) – Zajac missed the first 30 games of the season recovering from a summer Achilles Tendon surgery. Since his return the Devils are 5-2 since his return although he has only managed to put up 2 points. His chemistry with Zach Parise should enable him to return to a prominent role in the lineup once his conditioning returns to NHL game level.
Jason Spezza, C (OTT) – Sepzza has shown himself to be very streaky this season. Less than 2 weeks ago, he was tied for 4th on scoring, but since then he has scored only 1 point in his last 5 games. This follows a similar stretch in November where he was among the scoring leaders but then went on an 8 game streak that he scored only 2 points. The Senators need their #1 player to put up points more consistently.
3 KEYS TO A SENATORS VICTORY
1. Win in Regulation – No team has been to extra time more than Ottawa (12) and New Jersey (11) have this season. New Jersey has the best OT/SO record in the league, going 10-1 so far this season. Ottawa’s 7-5 record is nothing to sneeze at, but they don’t want to tangle with the Devils past 60 minutes.
2. Shut down Kovalchuk – Patrick Elias might be the Devils’ top scorer, but Kovalchuk is the engine that runs the club. Shutting him down is necessary if the Sens want to come away with the 2 points.
3. Re-ignite the Power – Ottawa’s power play has slipped to 17th in the league after being in the top 5 for the first couple of months. Establishing superiority with the man advantage will take some pressure off the other aspects of the game.
Check back after the game for a full recap.
Thanks for reading and as always, comments are welcomed.
Can’t get enough of SenShot? Here are more ways to get the most info about your Ottawa Senators.
Visit our SenShot Facebook Page. Like us and post comments, photos and videos.
Please visit our NHL Main Page: Too Many Men On The Site.