Tuesday, March 20th, 2012
Rogers Sportsnet, Team 1200
If the Ottawa Senators have designs on moving up to 6th place in the Eastern Conference standings, the 2 remaining games against the current occupiers of that spot, the New Jersey Devils, are must win games. The Senators currently sit 3 points behind the Devils, and also behind the Division leading Boston Bruins. The Senators have had 2 days off to collect their thoughts following a sub-par week where they earned only 2 points in three games against 2 non-playoff teams.
While they are focused on moving up in the standings, the Sens need to be aware and watch the rear-view mirror, as the pack is starting to close in on them. With 9 games to play, Washington is 4 points back, and the Sabres are 6 back, so the Senators once again need to be wary of those clubs.
The Devils come into town one night after dropping a 4-2 decision to the Conference-leading New York Rangers. Martin Brodeur started that game, so will most likely not be in net tonight, meaning Johan Hedberg (who actually has better numbers than Brodeur) will get the start.
Although Zenon Konopka will be in the lineup for the Senators tonight, I wouldn’t expect a replay of this, from last night’s Devils-Rangers game:
The teams have split the two games in the season series so far, with both clubs defending home ice. They will also meet on the last night of the season, which could determine playoff positioning.
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Jason Spezza, C, (OTT) - Spezza will be playing in his 600th career game against the Devils. Personal issues have been at the forefront for him in the last week. Not only is his wife expecting a baby very soon, but he was a very good friend of Canadian Freestyle Skier Nick Zoricic, who passed away in a competition 10 days ago. Spezza missed practice Monday to attend the funeral and was a pallbearer. Since the news of his friend’s death, Spezza has just 2 assists in 4 games. His personal issues aside, the Senators need a focused Spezza down the stretch in order to be successful. He was completely invisible in Saturday’s loss to Toronto.
Adam Henrique, C, (NJ) – The sure-fire nominee for the Calder Trophy has given the Devils some depth up the middle, to go along with their strong wingers. After his strong start his offense has tailed off lately, with only 5 assists in his last 14 games. Henrique leads all rookies in assists and is second in points to Gabriel Landeskog.
Check back after the game for a full recap.
Thanks for reading and as always, comments are welcomed.
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