Saturday, February 10th, 2012
CBC, Team 1200
Coming off a hard-fought win over the Nashville Predators, the Senators look to win back to back games and re-solidify their playoff hopes with a win over the Edmonton Oilers. Thursday’s win was Chris Phillips‘ 1000th game, and that accomplishment will be celebrated prior to today’s action. It is a matinee Hockey Day In Canada matchup, one that will not be nationally broadcast, as Winnipeg-Pittsburgh will be happening at the same time (cue the “lack of respect for the Senators” complaints here).
Edmonton is closing out its three game “Eastern” road trip having lost the first two in Toronto and Detroit. After surprising many with their play at the start of the season, the Oilers have fallen in the standings to the point where only Columbus is below them. They don’t win every night, but the skill on this team is definitely boding well for the future.
Ottawa jumped out to a 3-0 first period lead en route to beating the Oilers 5-2 in Edmonton in their only other meeting so far this season, back in November.
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Sam Gagner (C) EDM - What a difference a week and a half makes! A candidate to be traded (if a taker could be found) as January ended, Gagner caught fire with the turning of the calender. Put on a line with Jordan Eberle and Taylor Hall, Gagner is on a 5 game point streak during which he has 8 goals and 7 assists for 15 points. Included in that streak is the infamous 8 point game against the Blackhawks.
Craig Anderson, G, (OTT) – After being pulled in his last start against the Blues on Tuesday, Anderson got Thursday off, but will be back in the net this afternoon. It broke his streak of 17 straight starts and appearing in 23 straight games. After a great stretch in January, perhaps fatigue caught up with him and Anderson returned to the inconsistent play he showed early in the season. The Senators need to get this fixed if they want to remain in a playoff spot.
3 KEYS TO A SENATORS VICTORY
1. Match the Energy of the Young Oilers -Edmonton competes every night, and their youthful enthusiasm makes them tough to play against. Ottawa must match their effort and energy.
2. Capitalize on Mistakes – The Oilers youth is an asset, but it also means they are prone to mistakes. Making them pay for those errors is vital, especially early on.
3. Anderson – Having played only 4 minutes in the last 7 days, Anderson should be rested and ready to compete. A return to mid-January form will give the team in front of him confidence that he will have their backs, and allow them to play a little more freely.
Check back after the game for a full recap.
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