Game Preview: Ottawa Senators @ Philadelphia Flyers

Saturday January 7th 2012

1:00 pm

SNET-E, Team 1200

5th East (21-15-5) @ 4th East (23-11-4)

 

The Senators enter a set of back-to-back games this weekend, both against the Philadelphia Flyers. Today’s early afternoon game will be at Wells Fargo Centre before the Sens return home to face them again at Scotiabank Place tomorrow evening. The Senators have squared off against the Flyers only once so far this year and it wasn’t pretty with the Sens being completely dominated in a 7-2 defeat on home ice. The Sens however are much better than they were that early in the season and have found themselves in a surprising 5th place spot in the East at the half-way mark.

Currently are amidst a four game win streak, the most recent Sens win coming a mere two days ago against the Tampa Bay Lightning. The 4-1 victory led by solid goaltending from Craig Anderson, featured Kyle Turris’ first goal as an Ottawa Senator as well as a three point night from Captain Daniel Alfredsson.

Flyers went back to their regular arena Thursday night, following a winter classic loss, looking to bounce back against the Blackhawks. Philly won 5-4 but the team remains with many areas for concern, mainly the play of Bryzgalov which has been less than stellar.

Chris Phillips has been cleared to play after being injured in NJ while Gonchar made his return Thursday which is great news for the club. Sens will need a healthy back end to take on the league’s second best team in goals per game.  Luckily that squad will be a bit dented as Flyers will be without all-star Jaromir Jagr for both games. Other injuries include Jesse Winchester and Peter Regin who both remain out indefinitely. Craig Anderson is slated to start in net.

 

Players To Watch:

OTTAWA: Erik Karlsson – With Karlsson nearing or breaking the 30 minute mark in ice time nearly every night now he continues to impress each shift. The kid just doesn’t wear down. He leads all defenseman with 37 points (5-32) yet remains on the plus side (plus-1) after having struggling in that department last year at minus-30. Karlsson can be relied on to shut down league leading scorers and is constantly improving in his own end. Facing such a powerful Philly attack two days in a row, Karlsson will need to be at his best.

PHILADELPHIA: Claude Giroux – A nice light on a player post-concussion, Giroux picked up right where he left off after returning from his absence. Giroux has put together a record-breaking season for himself so far with 48 points (18-30) in just 34 games.

 

What To Look For:

SECONDARY SCORING – A lot of the Senators success has come from the productivity of all four lines. During times when the puck just isn’t going Spezza’s way or during Michalek’s absence, the Sens can always rely on the likes of Foligno, Smith, Condra etc. to step up and help out offensively. With everyone back in the line-up now, the Sens should be seen as a big offensive threat to any team.

CLUTCH: Kyle Turris has now racked up 6 points in 8 games, 4 of which have come on game winning goals, including the gwg in the Sens most recent victory. He’s begun creating chemistry with linemates Condra and Alfredsson and has been a great addition to the team so far.

CONSISTENCY IS KEY – Everybody knows Craig Anderson is capable of an incredible performance; but they also know how quickly it can become an atrocious performance. As the Senators have seen all too many times with their goalies, there is a lack of consistency. He finally seems to be set and needs to continue the solid play throughout a string of games.

 

Check back here after the game for SenShot’s full game recap. GO SENS GO!!

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Tags: Daniel Alfredsson Erik Karlsson Jagr Kyle Turris NHL Ottawa Senators Philadelphia Flyers Sens

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