Monday, March 26th, 2012
Rogers Sportsnet, Team 1200
The Ottawa Senators can kill two birds with one stone on Monday night in Winnipeg. A win over the struggling Jets would all but eliminate the former Atlanta Thrashers from playoff contention, but also help solidify their own playoff chances. After an 8-4 win over the red-hot Pittsburgh Penguins, Ottawa will look to start a streak that would see them pull back ahead of Washington and Buffalo, who have narrowed the Senators’ cushion to a mere 2 points.
At least the Senators control their own destiny, while the same cannot be said of their pursuers. Winnipeg sits 8 points back of Ottawa, but more importantly 6 back of the Caps and Sabres for the final playoff position. A loss to the Senators pretty much ends their hope for a Cinderella season.
The MTS Centre is a difficult place for visiting teams to play, as the crowd gives the Jets a distinct advantage. The Jets are 23-11-4 in their home rink. Ottawa did pull out a 6-4 win in their last visit, part of their 2-1 record against the Jets so far this season.
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Kyle Turris, C, (OTT) - Has he finally found his groove or was the Pittsburgh game just a blip? Adding Nick Foligno to the 2nd line worked for a game, and helped Turris to play one of his best games as a Senator. If Ottawa is going to stave off the Caps and Sabres, the production from the 2nd line will be key.
Tim Stapleton, C, (WPG) – The hottest Jet at the moment, the diminutive centre has 6 points (3G, 3A) in his last 5 games and is +7 over that time while playing in a limited role. If he keeps it up, he should see an increase in his current 11 minutes or so of ice time.
3 KEYS TO A SENATORS VICTORY
1. Crowd Control – The Winnipeg fans have been fantastic this season, and give the Jets confidence. Getting them out of the game early will make it an easier night for the Senators
2. Karlsson Comeback – After playing one of his worst games of the season against the Penguins personally, Erik Karlsson needs to have a bounceback game not only for his own sake, but for the chances of a potential Norris Trophy.
3. Keep Big Buff in Check – Dustin Byfuglien is a game-changing presence on the Jets blue line and is probably their most important player. The Senators forwards need to keep him on their radar and make sure he can’t sneak into scoring positions unchecked as he is more than willing and able to do.
Check back after the game for a full recap.
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