The Ottawa Senators, fresh off a big momentum swinging win return home to face a team they haven’t played in a while, looking to build off the win and not have it be a one-hit wonder.
7:30 PM Canadian Tire Centre
TV: Rogers Sportsnet Sens RADIO: TSN1200
These two clubs haven’t met in almost 2 full calendar years. Their last meeting was Dec 10, 2011, where the Canucks skated away with a 4-1 win on what was then Scotiabank Place ice. In fact, Vancouver has dominated Ottawa lately, winning 8 of their last 9 encounters, with Ottawa winning once and gaining one OT point for 3 of a possible 18 points.
Ottawa had a come from behind victory Wednesday night in Washinton, erasing a 3-1 first period deficit and coming away with a 6-4 win. Vancouver has been struggling mightily, having lost 8 of their last 10 games, but coming away with 4 loser points to at least remain in contact with the last playoff spot.
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Roberto Luongo, VAN – Expected to be either 1 or 1A for the Canadian Olympic team, Luongo has had a decent start (at least by his standards) to the season. He is traditionally a slow starter who rounds into form after Christmas, so if he can continue that trend he should be in gold medal form come February.
Colin Greening, OTT – Getting the monkey off his back last night with his first goal of the season, Greening now needs to show consistency and not slump back now that he has broken the ice. He has been particularly feisty lately, probably with the frustration of not bulging the twine.
TOP 3 STORYLINES TO THE GAME
1. Hail The Swedes – This will be a game where Sweden will have a large role. With Olympic certainties such as Daniel Sedin and Henrik Sedin, Alex Edler, Erik Karlsson as well as hopefuls like Mika Zibanejad and Robin Lehner (possible starter tonight), this will be like a Tre-Kroner homecoming. Imagine if Alfredsson and Silfverberg were still here?
2. Both Teams Hungry - Each team desperately needs to get a win, on a night where there are only 2 games and you can make some traction in the standings (at least temporarily). The Canucks and Senators sit 5 and 6 points respectively out of the final wild card spot in their conference. The Senators need to put together a good streak to build on the Washington win and the Canucks need to get out of a bad one.
3. Heritage Classic Preview – These two teams will meet up in the “outdoor” heritage game, that will not have the classic snowfall, or even the real feel of outdoors as they will be in BC Place Stadium, where even though the roof retracts, still won’t have the iconic snowfall scenes that have made the series so popular.
The Senators need to put together a streak of 5 or 6 wins to get some confidence back. The one game helps, but that will be all for naught with a stinker against a team they don’t see often and don’t traditionally play well against. Back to back is no excuse any more, and they can’t continue to fall behind and expect to come back.