Game 5 Preview: Ottawa Senators @ New York Rangers

Saturday April 21st, 2012

7:00 pm

CBC, Team 1200

8th East ( 41-31-10)     VS.     1st East (51-24-7)

The Ottawa Senators had an important victory Wednesday night to tie the series, once again winning in a dramatic fashion. Coming back from down 2 goals, the Sens forced overtime for the second time this series. The Sens got to work right away and one drop pass from O’Brien, and Kyle Turris snipe later, the anxious crowd at Scotiabank Place jumped to their feet, cheering louder than ever. The 3-2 OT victory tied the series at 2. The team is back in New York tonight for what is now a best of three series. Tonight is the big one since whoever wins will have the first chance at elimination for game 6.

There are still a few problems the Sens would like to iron out. Despite the 2-2 series tie, the Senators have yet to have a lead at any point in a game, both their wins coming in overtime. But for those who followed the team this season, this kind of play is not untypical coming from the “cardiac kids”.

Paul MacLean will certainly want his team to do better than that though. Rangers are a team that won over 80% of their games in regular season when scoring first, so Ottawa needs to start getting some goals earlier.

A positive from Wednesday is the top line finally came to life. Sens regular season goal scoring leader, Milan Michalek scored his first goal of the post-season. Spezza also picked up an assist, just his second point this series. Those are exactly the people who need to step up in Daniel Alfredsson’s absence. Alfredsson will be out again tonight as he did not make the trip to New York but he was on the ice in Ottawa this morning, a good sign. More bad news is that Ottawa is also without Jesse Winchester who was injured during the last game. Right now it appears Mark Stone is the most likely candidate to replace him. If true, Stone will be making his NHL debut, and will certainly add depth to the roster. Stone had an amazing season in the WHL this year, picking up 123 points in 66 games.

Once again we will see Craig Anderson and Henrik Lundqvist in net.

Player To Watch

Bobby Butler, OTTAWA - After being the healthy scratch for much of the regular season as well as the first two games of playoffs, Butler showed a lot of energy in his NHL playoff debut in game 3. He hasn’t had any points yet but has directed 6 shots on net in two games while playing with Turris and Foligno. Tonight it looks like he’ll have a shot on the top line, so maybe tonight he can get something on the board while playing with Spezza and Michalek.