Tuesday, March 6th, 2012
Rogers Sports, Team 1200
Since these two clubs met on Valentine’s Day, the Ottawa Senators and Tampa Bay Lightning have both made themselves relevant in the playoff picture. While the Sens are still in 7th place and need a win tonight to maintain a relatively comfortable cushion over the 9th and 10th place clubs, the Lightning have moved up to 10th place and are now knocking on the door to get into the playoff party. A win for the Bolts tonight would go a long way to keeping more teams within reach, bettering their chances.
Ottawa will start newcomer Ben Bishop in the net, as Robin Lehner passed his audition with flying colours and with a bit more goal support would have a better record than the 2-2 he posted in his call-up. However, it appears that this swap was the Sens plan all along, judging by the way Lehner reacted to his demotion, and that Bishop will now get his turn, with Craig Anderson still a ways away from returning.
Ottawa is 3-0 against the Lightning this season, posting 4-0, 4-1, and 4-2 victories. They couldn’t pull the sweep of the Panthers by losing on Sunday, but hopefully the Lightning will be more accomodating.
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Ben Bishop, G, (OTT) - If before the season began you told me that Ottawa would be excited to see in their net the man who lost an NHL job to Brian Elliot to start the season, I wouldn’t have believed it. However, Bishop will get his first start in an Ottawa uniform, and the anticipation is high. Bishop has been one of, if not the best, goaltender in the AHL this season and by all accounts he is ready for the NHL.
Brian Lee, D, (TB) – The much maligned former Senators blueliner faces the only other team he has ever played for, hving found a new home in Tampa Bay on trade deadline day. He has 2 assists in 3 games with the Lightning and is an even in terms of +/-, averagaing about 15 minutes per game.
3 KEYS TO A SENATORS VICTORY
1. Communication in Own Zone – Having a new, unfamiliar goalie makes this of the utmost importance, and there are bound to be miscues early on. Keeping those to a minimum are paramount if Ottawa is going to end a 2 game losing streak and right the ship.
2. Shut Down Stamkos – In the 9 games Tampa has played since Ottawa held him off the scoresheet on Feb 14th, Stamkos has been on an even greater tear than he was before, netting 10 goals and 18 points. He has only been held off the sheet once, by the Pittsburgh Penguins, in that stretch.
3. Spezza and Karlsson – If this season has shown anything, it is the following: 1) If Spezza and Karlsson both play well the Sens win. 2) If Spezza or Karlsson plays well, the Sens have a chance to win. 3) If Spezza and Karlsson both play a poor game, the Senators have no chance. It is as simple as that.
Check back after the game for a full recap.
Thanks for reading and as always, comments are welcomed.
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