Tuesday January 24th, 2012
SNET-E, Team 1200
5th East (27-18-6) @ 12th West (21-20-8)
The Senators finish off their western swing with a game against the struggling Phoenix Coyotes. This is the first and only encounter of the season between these two teams, Ottawa winning the only meeting last year by a score of 5 to 2. The Senators begun a strong month in January but have been having some trouble lately. They were able to defeat the surging Sharks 4-1 before being held to a single goal in losses against the Ducks and Kings to end their California trip. The most recent a 4-1 loss at the hands of the Los Angeles Kings, the worst defeat the team has suffered in the new year. However the Sens once again take on another set of back-to-backs, so they don’t have to wait long for a chance to redeem themselves.
Phoenix hasn’t been having a great season but they are staying within range of that 8th spot in the West. They’ve particularly struggled recently going 1-3-3 in their last 7 games. Defense has been their bigger problem as they’ve surrendered 23 goals during that span, an average of 3.29 per game. This is something the Sens, who only have 2 goals in their last 2 games, should take advantage of. It’s a perfect opportunity for them to regain the scoring touch that powered them to multiple win streaks over the last two months.
The story within the story for tonight’s game will be Kyle Turris‘ return to Phoenix. Turris was drafted 3rd overall by the Coyotes in 2007 and returns for the first time since being traded to the Senators in December in exchange for David Rundblad. Phoenix couldn’t figure out the potential in Turris the way the Sens have seemed to and they will have to take a look at what they missed out on tonight. Since being acquired, he has 13 points (4-9) and a plus-11 in 18 games. The Sens on the other hand, will not have to worry about facing former Senator Rundblad as he has been assigned to the Coyotes AHL affiliate.
Senators forwards Jesse Winchester and Peter Regin remain on injured reserve with long-term injuries, Regin’s possibly season-ending. The only line-up change for the Sens will be Matt Carkner making his way back into the line-up while Mark Borowiecki will be coming out. Despite being pulled after two periods in Los Angeles, Craig Anderson will make his 14th consecutive start. He will likely be up against Mike Smith.
Players To Watch:
OTTAWA: Kyle Turris - After holding out for a trade in Phoenix and only signing in December, Turris missed all of training camp and the beginning of the season. Turris was then pointless in six games with Phoenix before the trade but finally seems to have the jump in his step in Ottawa. He is a reliable producer and is earning a “clutch” nickname for not only his two game winners, but the number of assists he’s accumulated on game winning goals. And let’s face it, it’s always interesting to watch a player take on his former team for the first time.
PHOENIX: Ray Whitney - Though he wasn’t selected as an All-Star, Whitney has put together a great season. He has 41 points (15-26) in 49 games and has a team-leading plus-12. His 26 assists is also best on the team while his 15 goals in second only to Radim Vrbata.
This is the last Senators game before the break and it would be nice to end on a positive note. The team will then need to rest up (though it will be hard with 5 members participating in All-Star weekend) as they return to face the Division-leading Boston Bruins.
Check back here after the game for SenShot’s full game recap. Enjoy the game and GO SENS GO!
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Tags: All Star Craig Anderson David Rundblad Erik Karlsson Jesse Winchester Kyle Turris Mark Borowiecki Matt Carkner Mike Smith Ottawa Senators Peter Regin Phoenix Coyotes Sens Sharks West Western Conference Win Yotes