The Senators conclude a leisurely 4 game road trip when they make a stop in the American Mid-West to face a team without a couple of their top stars who are out due to injury.
(25-18-5, 55 points) 4th Central Division
8:00 PM EST
XCEL ENERGY CENTER
TV: Rogers Sportsnet; RADIO: TSN 1200
This is the second and final meeting of the season between the teams. Minnesota walked into Ottawa and stole a 4-3 win on Mikko Koivu‘s late 3rd period goal.
Both teams are coming into this game with wins over the Nashville Predators. Ottawa’s came on Saturday night, by score of 2-1 in a shootout, while the next night Minnesota went to Music City and shut out the Preds 4-0.
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Robin Lehner, OTT – Lehner has been anchored to the bench during Ottawa’s hot streak and hasn’t played since allowing 5 goals to the Bruins on Dec 27th. Has lost his last two starts, allowing 5 each time. He will be making his first career appearance against the Wild.
Niklas Backstrom, MIN – The former #1 in Minnesota is staking a claim to get his throne back with the injury to Josh Harding. He has won 3 of his last 4 outings, which broke an 8 game losing streak. He was not in the net for the shutout win over Nashville, it was understudy Darcy Kuemper.
TOP 3 STORYLINES FOR THE GAME
1. Coming in Hot – Both of these clubs are off to great starts in 2014. Minnesota has won 5 of 6 and the Senators are 3-0-1 since the calendar turned anew.
3. Heating Up – Former Senators winger and fan un-favorite Dany Heatley has found some chemistry with Charlie Coyle, and has notched a goal and 3 assists in his last 2 games. Coyle also has 4 points in those two games (2G, 2A)
This will be a big night in the wild card race with many of the contenders chasing spots playing while the current last place holder Detroit has the night off. It is conceivable there could be as many as a 5 way tie for the two Wild Card spots after tonight’s action.