Saturday March 24th, 2012
CBC, Team 1200
7th East (37-28-10) VS.4th East (46-21-6)
The Senators currently find themselves amongst a 3 game losing streak that couldn’t come at a worse time. With just seven games left and everyone fighting for their playoffs lives, Ottawa needs to start getting some points if they to hold onto their spot. Sens lost to the Montreal Canadiens last night in what many we’re calling a “must-win” against the worst team in the East. With the tough opponents coming up, Ottawa can’t afford to be losing 5-1 to teams ranked 28th in the league. Tonight the challenge will be tougher as they take on the surging Pittsburgh Penguins who have gone 9-0-1 in their last ten. With Malkin, Letang, and Crosby all healthy, they certainly put up a scary roster for any team to face.
This is the fourth and final meeting between these teams, with Ottawa winning 2 of 3 so far. The most recent was an impressive 5-1 win back in January. Ottawa hasn’t been playing that type of game in a while though and Pittsburgh has been playing better than ever so Sens will need to step it up if they want to get the two points. Ottawa is just two points ahead of 8th place Washington and 9th place Buffalo. A win tonight is crucial, especially with Buffalo also playing.
Pittsburgh is coming off a strong 5-1 win over the Nashville Predators, and they have now had 5 goals or more in five of their last six games. Pens also lead the league with 3.22 goals per game, meaning defense will need to be at it’s best. Goaltending will be a huge factor for tonight for Ottawa and that will rest on the shoulders of big Ben Bishop. Bishop played 15 minutes in the first period yesterday in relief of Craig Anderson before MacLean went back to Anderson to start the second. An interesting decision by MacLean leaves supposed number one Anderson off to the sides just one game after his return from a month-long absence.
Sens will be making a few other line-up changes. Daugavins will come in for Konopka and Carkner will come in for Gilroy. Bobby Butler will a stay healthy scratch. For Pittsburgh, Brad Thiessen gets the start in goal.
Players To Watch
Ottawa: Jason Spezza - Even with a struggling Sens offense that only has four goals in its last four games, Spezza has 3 points in his last four, including the only goal last night. Spezza also had two points during the last meeting between these teams and has 39 points in 31 career games against Pittsburgh.
Pittsburgh: Evgeni Malkin - Malkin has been the key player leading Pittsburgh to their playoff clinch. Malkin has 14 (7-7) points during his current six-game point streak and 95 (45-50) on the year. He leads the Pens in almost every category. He is first in goals, assists, points, game winning goals, plus/minus, and second in penalty minutes. Malkin will certainly be the biggest difference make for the Pens tonight.
Colin Greening will be having a milestone night, playing in his 100th career game. In 99 career games, Greening has 22 goals and 46 points. He was also one of 12 rookies selected to this year’s all-star roster. Condra hit the 100 mark last night while Spezza hit 600 last night. Neil is also closing in on a milestone as he sits at 197 career points.
Check back here after the game for SenShot’s full game recap. Enjoy the game and GO SENS GO!