Monday, January 16, 2012
Rogers Sportsnet, Team 1200
The Ottawa Senators pop home for a quick pit stop, change of clothes and a game against the Winnipeg Jets before heading back out on the road for a five game road trip that will take them into the All-Star Break.
The surging Senators are turning heads around the league and have won 4 straight contests (including 3 on the road). The Jets on the other hand, have slowed down and lost 3 in a row (and 5 of their last 6) after having put themselves in a playoff position as late as a couple of weeks ago.
This is the third meeting of the season, with Ottawa coming away with Ottawa coming away with a 4-1 win at home and a 6-4 win on the road. With a win, Ottawa could finish the night in first place in the Northeast Division at least temporarily (as Boston has 5 games in hand). Winnipeg needs a win to keep pace in the race for 8th, as they are starting to lose touch with the pack (trailing 8th by 5 points already).
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Evander Kane, RW (PHI) – The next great young power forward is coming into his own this season, scoring 18 goals so far. He is leading the Jets in goals and is only one off his career high (19) set last season. However, he hasn’t scored in 8 games, a streak which mirrors the Jets’ struggles of late. Scored a pair of goal the last time these teams met in Winnipeg.
Zack Smith, C (OTT) – Smith is also in the midst of a personal slump, as he is pointless in 5 games. He scored a pair of goals, including the game winner (and added an assist) the last time he played the Jets, so maybe he can get on track offensively in this game. Nine of his career high 12 goals this season have come at home.
3 KEYS TO A SENATORS VICTORY
1. Avoid off-ice distractions – With so much travel this month, family time might take some focus away from the game. The Senators need to take care of things at home, but be all business once they get to the rink.
2. 3rd D Pairing – Chris Phillips and Matt Carkner/Brian Lee must be able to provide 12-15 solid minutes to spell off the top two pairings. When Carkner has been in the lineup paired with Phillips, their lack of mobility has left them exposed in their own end.
3. Support Players – The Senators have been playing with their top 6 forwards on three separate lines. It falls upon Erik Condra, Colin Greening and Chris Neil to provide the “oomph” ensure that the three lines are all top-quality so that the Sens can keep the pressure on the opposing bench to try to match line for line.
Check back after the game for a full recap.
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