Dec 23, 2013; Ottawa, Ontario, CAN; Ottawa Senators goalie Craig Anderson (41) makes a save on a shot from Pittsburgh Penguins center Sidney Crosby (87) in the third period at the Canadian Tire Centre. The Senators defeated the Penguins 5-0. Mandatory Credit: Marc DesRosiers-USA TODAY Sports

Game 56 Preview: Ottawa Senators @ Pittsburgh Penguins

Coming off a bad loss to the Toronto Maple Leafs, the Ottawa Senators continue their road trip by stepping up in weight class, facing the top team in the Eastern Conference

 

SENS LOGO(24-21-10, 58 points) 6th Atlantic Division

VS

pens logo(38-15-2, 78 points) 1st Metropolitan Division

7:00 PM

Consol Energy Centre

TV:  TSN;   RADIO:  TSN1200

 

MATCHUP HISTORY

This is the second meeting of the season between the Senators and the team that beat them out of the 2013 playoffs.  The first meeting was the last game before the Christmas break, and Ottawa stunned the Penguins by shutting them out 5-0.  Eleven Ottawa skaters picked up points and Craig Anderson made 27 saves for the shutout.

 

LAST GAMES

The Senators coughed up a 2 goal lead and ended up getting pounded by Toronto 6-3 on Saturday night.  Pittsburgh is returning home off a 3-1 loss to the Phoenix Coyotes.

 

PLAYERS TO WATCH

Craig Anderson, OTT – Assuming he gets the start, Anderson has some words to back up after criticizing teammates following the loss to the Leafs.  His play has been as uneven as anyone on the Senators roster and he needs to step it up or beRobin Lehner The Ottawa Senators Net” href=”http://senshot.com/2014/02/02/time-give-robin-lehner-ottawa-senators-net/” target=”_blank”> made to step aside for a while. He is 5-4-1 in his career against Pittsburgh.

Evgeni Malkin, PIT – The Penguins #1A centre has 26 points in 25 career games against Ottawa.  He has a goal and two assists in his last two games.

 

TOP 3 STORYLINES FOR THE GAME

1.  Falling Sens – What a difference a loss makes.  After Thursday’s win the Senators were sitting in the 2nd wildcard spot.  Three days later, and they are 2 points back with 4 teams to jump. Each game is ultra important from here on out and collapses like Saturday’s are unacceptable.

2.  Pens Back Home – Hopefully the adage is true about the first game back after a road trip.  The Penguins went all the way West for just a 2 game trip.  I can imagine the only thing worse than a long west coast trip would be a short west coast trip.  Just when you get used to the time change, you are back home and have to readjust.

3.  Finish Strong – The Penguins have all but clinched a playoff spot already, while the Senators are scratching and clawing to try to get to the Olympic break within striking distance of, if not in, a playoff spot. They have 4 games left to make something happen, starting against the Pens.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tags: Craig Anderson Evgeni Malkin Game Preview Ottawa Senators Penguins

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