Game Preview: Ottawa Senators vs. St. Louis Blues — Brian Elliott Returns

Tuesday February 7th 2011

7:30 pm

SNET-E, Team 1200

8th East (27-21-7 ) VS. 5th West (30-14-7 )

The Ottawa Senators take on the St. Louis Blues for the first and only meeting between the teams this season. The Sens again look to end their current six game losing streak. The most recent loss was a bad one, to the worst possible opponent: the Toronto Maple Leafs. A 5-0 catastrophe that left the blue and white fans in our home crowd way too satisfied. Today’s task isn’t going to be easy. St. Louis has had an incredible season holding on to a playoff spot in the west while playing in what is maybe the league’s strongest division. For Sens to win they will need to find a way to get their scoring touch back.

However the Senators, who are having trouble scoring (just one goal in there last three games at Scotiabank Place) take on a team that who allows the fewest goals against per game on average. Both Blues goalies have a GAA under 2, which is very impressive. The Sens only need to face one of them however, and he is a familiar face to Ottawa.

Brian Elliott will take on his former team for the first time since being traded almost a year ago. However it is not his first time back in Ottawa. Elliott took the ice at Scotiabank Place just over a week ago as an NHL All-Star, an honour nobody would’ve predicted for him last year when he was sent away and then left for dead by Colorado. That was until St. Louis took him in during free agency, and  he began the comeback season many thought he wouldn’t have a chance at. Now he looks for a win against his old team to show them and all Ottawans what they are missing out on.

It comes at a bad time though as Sens desperately need the win and the two points. Win-less in six, with only one point in that span, the sens are on the verge of losing their playoff spot and the team just can’t afford to lose any more games.

Brian Lee appears to be recovering well from his injury but remains out tonight meaning Matt Carkner stays in. Winchester on the other hand has stopped skating with the team which could be a halt in his recovery progress from a concussion suffered in December. Bobby Butler will once again be the healthy scratch.

The biggest potential line-up change Sens fans wondered about was in nets. It appeared Craig Anderson who has started every game in 2012 could take to the bench for the first time in 18 games, given backup Alex Auld a chance to make his case. Auld won’t get the opportunity however as Anderson will once again lead his team on the ice. Though St. Louis has a strict back-end they have been limited offensively and this just goes to show how much the organization doubts big bald Alex Auld.

Players To Watch:

OTTAWA: Jason Spezza - Spezza has gone pointless in six straight games, his longest drought of the season. The team relies on him and works off of him. When Spezza is hot it benefits everyone. This time desperately needs scoring and they need Jason Spezza to do it for them.

ST. LOUIS: Brian Elliott - Who else? Elliott has had a spectacular season especially considering how his year played out.  On one side he is the league leader in goals against average with 1.69 and is second in save percentage only to Lundqvist with .938. Looking on the other side, Elliott’s success as Scotiabank Place hasn’t exactly been anything to brag about. It will be interesting to see which of these factors comes out on top tonight.

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

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Tags: Alex Auld Brian Lee Craig Anderson Daniel Alfredsson Erik Karlsson Game Day Preview Game Preview Matt Carkner Ottawa Senators Paul MacLean St.Louis Blues