Monday, February 20th, 2012
Rogers Sportsnet, Team 1200
Following a very successful father’s road trip to Florida and a 4 day break, the Ottawa Senators hit the ice in a Monday matinee on Long Island. Ottawa is back in control of their own destiny after the sub-par play of Washington and Florida while Ottawa was scoreboard watching. With the games in hand for other teams dwindling, Ottawa is still in a good position to qualify for the post-season. However, games like this afternoon’s matchup are important wins for the Sens to remain in this positive position.
The New York Islanders have been playing very well of late, and are trying to claw their way into the playoff race. They are currently mired in a pack with Tampa and Montreal, who are all sitting 6 points out of 8th.
The Islanders beat the Senators in overtime, 2-1 in Ottawa earlier this month. Three of the 4 matches between the two clubs this season will be played in February, as after today they will meet again next Sunday in Ottawa.
Craig Anderson will start for the Senators, while the New York Islanders will likely respond with Evgeni Nabokov, who missed Thursday and Saturday with the flu.
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Kyle Turris, C, (OTT) - After scoring 13 points in his first 16 games following the trade to Ottawa, Turris has 1 point in his last 11 games, which isn’t good enough for a second line centre on a playoff team. He needs to get back to consistent production to take the pressure off Jason Spezza to put up multiple points every night for the Senators to win. Turris is pointless in 4 career games against the Islanders
John Tavares, C, (NYI) – The former #1 overall pick is much like Jason Spezza – a streaky scorer. He scored 3 points (including the game winner) on Saturday against Carolina. It was his 7th game winner of the season for Tavares, tied for 4th in the league. He is averaging a point per game this season as the Islanders on-ice leader.
3 KEYS TO A SENATORS VICTORY
1. Quick Start – The Islanders are a young team that can get discouraged if things don’t go right early on. Putting a couple past Nabokov early could lead to a blowout. On the other hand, the longer the Islanders are in the game, the better their chances to pull the upset become.
2. Second Line Production – It is well documented that as Spezza and Erik Karlsson go, so goes the Sens. However, some support from Turris and Co. wouldn’t hurt at all.
3. Brian Lee – It is not often that a player who plays 13-17 minutes on any given night on the third pairing is a key. Lee adds some mobility to the pairing that Matt Carkner does not, and it has helped Chris Phillips look better as a result. I don’t think it is a coincidence that the Sens are 3-0-1 since his return to the lineup from injury.
Check back after the game for a full recap.
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