Coming off their first loss of the season, the Ottawa Senators will try to get back into the win column against the powerful Pittsburgh Penguins when they host Sidney Crosby and company on Sunday evening.
2-2-0, T 6th Eastern Conference
3-1-0, T-2nd Eastern Conference
TV: Rogers Sportsnet, Radio: Team 1200
HEAD TO HEAD
Ottawa took the last three matches last season against the Penguins after Pittsburgh took the first encounter.
Ottawa lost for the first time this season in Tampa Bay on Friday night, giving up a season high 6 goals. At pretty much the same time, Pittsburgh blew a 2-0 lead and fell 4-2 to the Winnipeg Jets. Both Ottawa and Pittsburgh used their backup goalies on Friday, so expect both Craig Anderson and Marc-Andre Fleury to be rested and ready to go.
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Sidney Crosby, PIT – On a team laden with stars, Crosby is the brightest of the bunch. He is the leader of the team and the most dangerous player in the game as soon as his skates make contact with the ice on any given night.
Marc Methot, OTT – Methot has come in and provided solid all-around play in the difficult spot of being Erik Karlsson‘s defence partner. With the firepower the Penguins can throw out there, Methot’s presence will be vital in order to let Karlsson be Karlsson.
TOP 3 STORYLINES FOR THE GAME
1. Back In the Win Column – Both teams are coming off losses (Pens have lost 2 in a row) and want to end that trend as soon as possible. However, only one team will be able to end the trend.
2. Andy Still Dandy? - Craig Anderson currently leads the NHL with a 0.67 Goals Against Average and a .976 Save Percentage. Those numbers were put up against Winnipeg and Florida (twice), not exactly offensive powerhouses. The Penguins are an entirely different monster and it will be up to Anderson to repeat his early season performance against a quality team. If he can shut down the Pens, then you can say he is for real.
3. Who’s on Second? – Finding a winger to play with Kyle Turris and Daniel Alfredsson could be the biggest problem to solve for Paul MacLean over the next few games. Guillaume Latendresse hasn’t been the answer, and in his absence last game there were a few options tried out by MacLean (Zack Smith, Kaspars Daugavins). Someone needs to take that opportunity and step up to claim the spot for the foreseeable future. Although the Senators would prefer him in the middle, Peter Regin is probably the most skilled player capable of stepping up to fill the role.
A home game against one of the elite teams in the East will pose a good test for the Senators to see where they are at. They failed the test on Friday, and dropping another one will not make fans forget about the 3-0 start, but question the legitimacy of it. After Pittsburgh, there is a long stretch of very winnable games, but the Senators need to show that they can win some games that maybe they are not supposed to win, rather than just the ones they are supposed to win.
Enjoy the game!