The Battle of the Basement Round 2 goes tonight, as your Ottawa
Mups Senators travel to the Sunshine State to take on the Florida Panthers. Ottawa is now 6-1-1 against the Atlantic Division, after the heartbreaking loss to the Detroit Traitors Red Wings.
7-15-5, 19 Points, 7th Atlantic
10-13-4, 24 Points, 6th Atlantic
7:30 PM BB&T Centre
TV: SN-E, TVA, FS-F Radio: TSN1200
Ottawa won the first game of the season between the division rivals 3-2, getting goals from Kyle Turris, Mika Zibanejad and Clarke MacArthur (GWG). The teams will play two more games against each other this season.
Ottawa lost in Alfie’s Return, 4-2. The ex-Captain had an assist and an EN goal to end the game. Florida lost 5-1 to the Pittsburgh Penguins on Saturday.
Players to Watch
Mike Hoffman, OTT- Called up from Binghamton yesterday, The Hoff gets his first shot with the big club this year. After seeing some success with the MacArthur-Spezza-Zibanejad line, Paul MacLean will line Hoffman up with Kyle Turris and Bobby Ryan. All Hoffman needs to do is not screw up and he’ll have plenty of opportunities to score, especially against the weak Panthers.
Scottie Upshall, FLA- The leading scorer for Florida, he has 6G and 8A. Florida really sucks.
1. Can Ottawa bounce back? After suffering a heart breaking loss in Alfie’s return to Ottawa, the Senators need to bounce back strong against a weak divisional foe. Ottawa needs to have a good game here, because then we can all have some hope that this team is turning things around. Right.
2. Defensive Zone Breakouts- This has been the team’s biggest problem this season. From defensemen bobbling the puck at the blue line, to wingers being unable to receive breakout passes cleanly, this team just has not figured out how to do it yet. Against the Panthers, Ottawa should be able to get some good work in getting out of their own zone, which will hopefully translate to being able to do it against better teams.
3. Milan Michalek- Demoted to the third line, the former speedy winger has had trouble getting going this season. Lining up with Zack Smith and Chris Neil, he’ll be asked to play hard defensive minutes and drive possession. He used to do that really well, but has looked lost more often than not on Jason Spezza‘s wing this season. Zack Smith has looked very good this season, so hopefully he can get some of that magic to rub off on the Czech superstar.
This team won’t be making the playoffs, barring a complete 180. They would have to almost literally run the table in their final 55 games. Get the young kids the experience they’re going to need for a deep playoff run next year, move some ineffective pieces (Michalek, Craig Anderson at the right price) and get back to basics. If they lose this game against the Panthers, it’s definitely time to worry.
GO SENS GO!