The Ottawa Senators will once again look to build a lengthy winning streak as opposed to a win one-lose one situation when they try for the Sunshine Sweep in Tampa.
(16-10-1, 33 points) 4th, Atlantic Division
7:30 pm, Tampa Bay Times Forum
TV: Sportsnet Sens; RADIO: TSN1200
Traditionally the Senators have had the edge in this matchup of expansion cousins. They have gone 7-3 in their last 10 against the Bolts, but Tampa took 2 of 3 last season, including both in Tampa.
Ottawa fell behind 2-0 to the Panthers before coming back and taking the game 4-2. Tampa has lost two in a row, and have struggled since losing Steven Stamkos, and haven’t scored a goal in over 120 minutes.
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Cory Conacher, OTT – Conacher returns to Tampa, where he was traded from to Ottawa last season. Conacher has struggled to put up points this season, but there is no doubting his effort or his ability to get under his opponents’ skin, as he drew a penalty and could have drawn more with the benefit of a couple of calls on Tuesday against Florida.
Ben Bishop, TB – Bishop has taken the reins of the Lightning crease, and has put himself in the conversation, albeit the outside of the talk, for the US Olympic team. He hasn’t got much goal support lately, and needs to pitch near shutouts for the Lightning to win these days.
TOP 3 STORYLINES FOR THE GAME
1. Get Streaking – Ottawa is at a point in their season where they need to string together some wins as by the end of this month they will either be in the thick of the playoff race or right out of it.
2. Bic Mac – With each game he plays, Clarke MacArthur increases his value and shows his true worth and makes himself one of the best under the radar signings of the off-season.
3. Power Outage – The Lightning have been shut out for 2 straight games and are definitely feeling the absence of Steven Stamkos, who is progressing nicely from his broken leg, but his return is not imminent.
The Lightning currently occupy the spot that the Senators would like to be in before too long, a playoff spot. It will be a difficult climb, but a win tonight is essential for the Senators in what is a 4 point game. Fourteen more games in December, with 7 of them against teams in their own division, by New Years we should have a better fix on what this team is all about.