The Ottawa Senators take to the ice under an ever-growing mountain of frustration and panic as they face a Western Conference foe who they have already defeated once this season.
CANADIAN TIRE CENTRE
TV: Rogers Sportsnet; RADIO: TEAM1200
The Coyotes were the lone victim of Ottawa’s first West coast trip of the season. The Senators defeated the Yotes 4-3 on an overtime goal from Cory Conacher.
Phoenix dropped a 2-1 shootout decision to the Maple Leafs on Thursday, while the Senators were losing 4-2 to the Florida Panthers.
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Oliver Ekman-Larsson, PHX – Potentially Erik Karlsson’s defense partner at the upcoming Sochi Olympics, Ekman-Larsson has 21 points and is +7 so far this season. He had an assist and was +2 in the first meeting of the season.
Milan Michalek, OTT – Michalek needs to snap out of the funk he has been in for most of the season, since Paul MacLean seems intent on keeping him and Jason Spezza together. Michalek showed a flash of his former self with a highlight reel goal against the Devils, but the Senators need more of that on a consistent basis.
TOP 3 STORYLINES FOR THE GAME
1. Smith Olympic Bound? – Coyotes goalie Mike Smith seems to be getting a last moment groundswell of support for being one of the 3 goalies for Team Canada. It could just be because he is finally doing the rounds of the Eastern Canadian markets, but his name has been mentioned more in the past week than the first couple of months of the season.
2. Where is Rock Bottom? – Have the Senators already hit rock bottom, or can it get worse? It would appear that the team has nowhere to go but up, and if there is any more sinking ability then there could be changes afoot.
3. Focus on the D – The Senators have been terrible in their own end, and have left their goaltenders hung to dry. Wins will come from their own end out, and the less time they spend behind their own blue line the better the results will be. That means all 5 skaters on the ice paying attention to detail and making sure the puck gets out.