Two games in a row at Scotiabank Place? It feels like it’s been forever, but the Senators are home for the second game in a row, and facing off against the incoming Tampa Bay Lightning.
13-16-1, 13th Eastern Conference
16-9-6, 5th Eastern Conference
TV: Rogers Sportsnet, Radio: Team 1200
HEAD TO HEAD
The last time these two teams met, down in sunny Florida was at the end of the January, back when Ottawa was a very different team. The game saw Ben Bishop off to a rough start to his season as the Senators fell 6-4 in what has been one of the highest scoring affairs they’ve found themselves in all season.
The Ottawa Senators find themselves back on the ice after a disappoint loss to the Boston Bruins Thursday night. The Senators look to bounce back against the Lightning, who currently dwell towards the bottom of the Conference. On the other hand, the Lightning continue their trip through Ontario after suffering a 4-2 loss at the hand of the dreaded Toronto Maple Leafs on Wednesday night.
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Marc Methot, OTT – This will come as a surprise, it’s not often that a stay at home D-Man makes the players to watch list. Methot is back after a mild knee injury that caused every member of Sens Army to collectively hold their breath. Don’t expect a stellar break out offensive performance from Methot, but watch for the physical shutdown play that often loses out to point production. Tampa is a high scoring team, with a ton of offensive threats, this is Methot’s time to shine.
Martin St. Louis, TB – Steven Stamkos is the current point leader on the Lightning, followed closely the most Dangerous Man under 6 foot. St. Louis is one of the best set up men in the league and seems to find joy in making defensemen look silly. Quick feet and quicker hands make St. Louis, with 39 points including 32 assists, the bane of every opposing coaches’ existence.
3 STORYLINES FOR THE GAME
1. ITS LEHNSANITY – Robin Lehner has been nothing short of fantastic between the pipes for the Senators. His record unfortunately doesn’t reflect the effort he has put in, and after his efforts Thursday night, he is rewarded with his second straight start. Bishop got lit up last time against the Lightning, the Sens are hoping Lehnsanity keeps that in check.
2. Muscle Up – Matt Kassian started to make an impact in the Bruins game on Thursday night. The man almost challenged every single Bruin to a fight. It’s hard to support the role of a pure enforcer in the lineup, especially a depleted one like the Sens, but Kassian seems to be a positive addition. The added muscle seems to have straightened up the postures of every player (anyone else see Latendresse last game?)
3. Avoiding the Penalty Kill – Sure, Ottawa has the second best Penalty Kill in the league. That being said, you know we mentioned St. Louis as a player to watch? The Sens want to avoid him at all costs. Martin St. Louis is like a kid who ran away from home specifically so he could play in the ball pit at McDonald’s when he is on the Power Play.
Scotiabank Place is the literal definition of home ice advantage. Paul MacLean has strategized and line matched his team to a stellar 10-2-3 record at home. Look for the Senators to correct their course after the tough loss on Thursday night. Expect the energy of the crowd and a determination to keep that home record going to be an extra man on the ice tonight.