After a stunning final 5 minute collapse in Montreal last night that pretty much sealed the deal on the Senators missing the playoffs, they return home to what will likely be a hostile fan base to face one of the biggest surprise teams in the Western Conference.
Canadian Tire Centre
TV: Rogers Sportsnet; RADIO: TSN1200
This is the final meeting of 2 this season between the interconference clubs. Ottawa gave up the lead on a late 3rd period goal and went on to lose 4-3 in overtime on a Tyson Barrie goal.
Ottawa has one of the biggest collapses in franchise history in a game they absolutely needed to win in Montreal. They gave up 3 goals in the final 3:22 and a goal in the final second to allow the game to overtime where Montreal ended up winning and killing any hope Ottawa had left to gain a playoff spot. Colorado ended their home stand in equally stunning fashion, allowing 6 goals in a second period frenzy to the Anaheim Ducks and losing 6-4.
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Nathan MacKinnon, COL – Last summer’s first overall selection is living up to the hype. He has 22 goals, 29 assists and 51 points, leading all NHL rookies in each category. Perhaps even more impressive is his team leading +18 rating, tied for 3rd among all freshmen.
Jason Spezza, OTT – The arrival of Ales Hemsky might be too little, too late, but it seems to have rejuvenated the captain. He has 8 points in the last 3 games to go along with a +3 rating. He has5 points in 8 career games against the Avalanche.
TOP 3 STORYLINES FOR THE GAME
1. Shaking off a loss – It wasn’t just a loss, it was a meltdown of epic proportion. That was devastating and will be tough to regroup from in a 19 hour period.
2. Flaming out – The failure to come away with 2 points in Montreal means they lost ground in the playoff race and the hopes are pretty much extinguished for this year. They would pretty much need to run the table to be able to make up the ground and also leapfrog the four teams they would need to jump to get into 8th.
3. Avs Delight – The Avalanche are way ahead of schedule in their rebuild and Patrick Roy has the young team playing like seasoned vets and in the mix of the elite teams in the tough Western Conference. They are a young, fast, skilled team that will be fun to watch.