The Ottawa Senators come off a moderately successful 6 of a possible 8 point stretch against some middling and underling teams, and now face back to back home games against two of the Western Conference powerhouses. Up first is a team that has recently tasted the Stanly Cup and brings with them two of the hottest rookies in the league.
2:00 PM, CANADIAN TIRE CENTRE
TV: Rogers Sportsnet; RADIO: TSN1200
This is the second of two meetings this season between the clubs. The first week of the season saw the Senators come back from a 3-0 deficit to get a point, but lost early in OT on a goal by Jeff Carter.
Ottawa completed a home and home with Buffalo on Thursday with a 2-1 win thanks to the heroics of Craig Anderson. Los Angeles has won 5 straight games, the last being a 3-1 win over the Toronto Maple Leafs on Wednesday.
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Tyler Toffoli – After starting the season in the AHL due to some salary cap issues for the Kings, Toffoli has notched 8 goals and 7 assists in 18 games since being recalled. The former Ottawa 67’s sniper is tied for 8th in rookie scoring, and is only 9 points behind Tomas Hertl, despite Hertl having played 14 more games than Toffoli.
Cody Ceci – Toffoli’s teammate with the Ottawa 67’s for 3 seasons, Ceci made his NHL debut in Thursday’s win over Buffalo, playing over 20 minutes and finishing +2 on the night. Whether or not he gets a chance for an encore will depend on the health of Marc Methot, but the latter didn’t skate again on Friday so the chances are good that Ceci will be in the lineup.
TOP 3 STORYLINES FOR THE GAME
1. Jonesing For Success – Kings rookie goalie Martin Jones has played 4 NHL games, and has only allowed 2 goals in winning all 4. Whether it is goaltending or team defense, the Kings don’t allow many goals. It is a style that has carried them, and Jones is the latest recipient.
2. Anderson Back? – It has been a while since Craig Anderson played like he did on Thursday, and hopefully that is a sign of things to come for the veteran netminder. If he is on top of his game, the Senators have a fighting chance. If not, they will not likely be able to keep pace with the Kings stellar all around game.
3. Statement Game – Ottawa has been better of late, but they have played some of the lesser lights of the NHL. This is a chance to show the league that their inconsistencies are behind them and they can do that with a good performance (and a win) on home ice.
Ottawa has clawed their way to the front of the pack that is chasing down the Leafs and Red Wings for the Wild Card spots. They have earned 6 of their last 8 possible points, and it would be a shame to slip back into the pack. It will be a tall order, but the Senators have a history of playing to the level of their opposition.