Mar 23, 2013; Ottawa, ON, CAN; Tampa Bay Lightning goalie Cedrick Desjardins (30) and centre Nate Thompson (44) follow the puck on a rebound following a shot by the Ottawa Senators in the second period at Scotiabank Place. Mandatory Credit: Marc DesRosiers-USA TODAY Sports

Game #39 Preview: Ottawa Senators at Tampa Bay Lightning


4 straight regulation losses and a game against the tallest goalie in the league. That being said, if there’s one team that knows how to beat Ben Bishop, it’s the Ottawa Senators. What seemed like a sure lock only a week ago, now has the team in dire straights. This is the wrong time of the year for a 7 game road trip but thats the way the schedule shakes down and it’s time for Ottawa to dig deep into the massive wells they call hearts.

 

19-13-6 = 6th in the Eastern Conference

VS

16-20-2 = 14th in the Eastern Conference

HEAD TO HEAD

This is game three of the season series between these two teams. Both enter with a win apiece in the series, and both games so far have been high scoring affairs. Although, the previous meetings had Ben Bishop on a different side of the ice, so who knows how this game is going to break down. It’s a quick turn around for Cory Conacher and Bishop to be facing their old teams.

 

LAST GAMES

The road trip hasn’t been the greatest for Ottawa so far. In a game that was almost a picture perfect road game (aside from the special teams) the Senators still walked away with a loss in their first pit stop in the Sunshine State. Meanwhile Tampa Bay is coming back from a 4-2 loss at the hands of the Washington Capitals. Both teams are going to be looking to rebound from their losses, but I imagine the desperation factor is going to be firmly in the hands of the Ottawa Senators. Look for ‘them Bolts’ to be playing the role of spoiler tonight.

PLAYERS TO WATCH

(This one is easy)

CORY CONACHER – OTT - Conacher has been impressive in his first two starts for the Senators. Notching his first goal the other night and playing beyond impressively while he’s on the ice, look for Conacher to step it up a notch against the team that first gave him his big league shot. Conacher has the speed that matches perfectly against the Tampa Bay offensive. Look for an explosive night.

TEDDY PURCELL – TB - I bet you did not see that coming AT ALL when I said it was going to be easy. Purcell is a hardnose player on a team that doesn’t have many. There are elite players on the Lightning team, no one is ever going to deny that, but players like Teddy Purcell is the beast of a player everyone loves to watch when he gets on his game.

STORYLINES

- THIS. IS. DESPERATION. TIME. I didn’t think I would be saying this, and maybe I’m hitting the panic button a little sooner than I should, but last week we looked comfortable, this week…not so much. Those PeskySens need a win, and the last two games, games we should have won by any standards haven’t gone our way.

- Goaltending Duel. Another surprise you didn’t see coming. After last games display of God Mode in a hockey game, expect the unexpected. The Tampa Bay goalie situation isn’t one to be desired, but expect a big game. This is bounce back territory for Craig Anderson who had a decent night last game, but I’m sure not the game he would have wanted.

- Just how long do we have to wait? The injury situation finally looks like it is taking it’s toll on the Senators. From creaky knees to wonky spines, to Achilles tendons that just won’t stay attached, the Boys have been through it all. It makes them tougher, it showcases their resolve, but there is only so much a team can take. It looks like we’re at a pivot point, and hopefully a little bit more good news starts filtering in for the team.

PARTING SHOT

Erik Karlsson. Skating. Cue a group of fans calling themselves “The Sens Army” squealing like fan girls. Got the image? It isn’t pretty. Then again, nothing this season has been, so par for the course as far as I’m concerned. He isn’t close to returning, but on the ice and skating is a good sign, and right now, any good news we’ll do.

CLARKE’S SIGNOFF

How weird was it cheering for the Leaf’s to beat the Rangers last night? I still didn’t want Phil Kessel to score though, so hold the egg throwing.

Tags: Ben Bishop Bryan Murray Chris Neil Chris Phillips Craig Anderson Daniel Alfredsson Erik Karlsson Kyle Turris Mika Zibanejad NHL Ottawa Senators Peter Regin Toronto Maple Leafs