Riding a hot hand for the last 3 games, the Senators will alter that strategy and bring in a familiar face when the Senators face off against the lowly Flyers tonight.
7:30 pm, Canadian Tire Centre
TV: Rogers Sportsnet; RADIO: TSN1200
The Flyers and Senators met 3 times in 2013, with the Flyers skating away with a pair of 2-1 wins sandwiched around a 3-1 Ottawa win. This has always been a pretty even matchup with the Senators holding the advantage all-time, with a 41-40-8 record.
Ottawa rode the hot goaltending of Robin Lehner to a 3 game winning streak, and points in their last 5 games, including a 3-2 win over the Florida Panthers on Saturday afternoon. Philadelphia beat the Oilers 4-2, also on Saturday afternoon, meaning they have gone 5-3-1 in their last 9 games.
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Claude Giroux – PHI – Once thought of as a lock for Team Canada, Giroux is a local product whose struggles have epitomized those of his team. There is even talk that he might be sliding out of contention for a roster spot, but the injury to Steven Stamkos might change that. Giroux has just 1 goal and 7 assists in 16 games.
Craig Anderson – OTT – All eyes will be on how the Senators #1 goaltender plays upon his return from a stiff neck that occurred as a result of a collision in the Dallas Stars game over a week ago. Robin Lehner was great during his 3 game stint as a fill-in and didn’t lose, so the onus is on Anderson to continue the trend of good Ottawa goaltending.
TOP 3 STORYLINES FOR THE GAME
1. Don’t poke the Bear – The Flyers’ offense has been woeful this season, averaging less than 2 goals per game. However, they have played better recently for the most part, and the Senators cannot take them lightly, because they have enough offensive talent to break out. It is going to happen at some point, and the Senators do not want to give the Flyers any momentum.
2. Shot Count – Ottawa continues to allow the most shots on goal, still over 37 per game, and have been winning because of good goaltending. Meanwhile the Flyers are middle of the pack in terms of shots, but look to take advantage in this one just like most other teams have this season to get that count up, and at the same time pot some goals.
3. No Goalie Fight Likely – With Lehner and most likely Ray Emery both starting the game on their respective benches, the prospect of seeing a goalie fight goes from possible to highly unlikely.
The decision to take a red-hot Robin Lehner out of the net, even though he is still the #1A goalie, will be debated hotly should Anderson falter. Yes, Anderson is still the #1 man, but it is a risky ploy to mess with a winning streak, and Lehner’s stats far exceed Anderson’s so far this season. Paul MacLean really can’t go wrong, but hopefully he is rewarded for his loyalty to Anderson with a good performance.