Game Day – OTT @ NYI

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(17-27-8, 13th East)

vs.

(16-28-8, 15th East)

The Ottawa Senators commence a four game road trip Saturday when they travel to Long Island to face the team that they recorded their last win against, the New York Islanders.  The Islanders sit 3 points behind the Senators, and a loss in this game could mean last place is within reach for the Ottawa club.

It should be all hands on deck for the Senators as Jason Spezza will be in the lineup after missing 15 games with a shoulder injury.  The Senators managed to go 1-10-4 without their number one centre and arguably most talented player.

The Senators lead the season series 2-0 so far this season, with a 4-1 win Nov. 4th and a 6-4 win Jan. 13th.

PLAYERS TO WATCH

New York Islanders

John Tavares, C – The 2009 1st overall selection for the Islanders has had a difficult adjustment to the NHL so far.  Although a solid contributor for a 20-year old, he has not had the impact expected a player who came in with such fanfare.  Tavares has gone 8 games without a goal, recording 5 assists in that time frame.  He is a streaky scorer who has talent but is not surrounded by many top level players on the Island.  Has scored 5 points in 6 career games against Ottawa.

Ottawa

Jason Spezza, C – Finally returns to the Ottawa lineup against the Islanders, a team that he has had success against.  In his last meeting (Nov. 4th) he recorded a goal and three assists in a 4-1 victory.  Spezza is a career point per game player (8G-15A-23 PTS in 23 games) against the Islanders.  Looks to give the offense a boost (especially the power play) that has been woeful since his Boxing Day injury.

LOCAL OTTAWA FLAVOUR

Islanders’ 4th line centre Zenon Konopka spent 4 spectacular seasons with the Ottawa 67’s, winning a Memorial Cup and an OHL Championship and serving as captain for one season.  Winger P.A. Parenteau is a native of Hull, Quebec.

LAST 5 GAMES

OTTNYI
RECORD0-4-12-3-0
GOALS FOR117
GOALS AGAINST2418
PP3/15 (20.0%)2/14 (14.3%)
PK6/12 (50.0%)13/15 (86.7%)

THREE KEYS TO A SENATORS VICTORY

Quick Start – The Isles’ goaltending suffered a blow as Rick DiPietro suffered facial and knee injuries in a fight against the Penguins‘ Brent Johnson earlier in the week.  Ottawa was able to jump on the rookie replacements for DiPietro during their last win in January, and they need to do the same this time.

Defensive Zone Coverage – The Senators’ weakness in the Detroit game, and all 18 skaters have to commit, as they can’t afford to get into a drag race with anyone right now, even the lowly Islanders.  Also, the goaltending, whether Lehner or Elliott, must be better at stopping the puck and controlling rebounds.

Spezza – The centre was greatly missed during his absence, and his return will allow the other players to better fit into their pecking order in the lineup.  However, Spezza must guard against trying to do too much in his return, and also his teammates cannot expect him to be the savior.  They can’t just stand around watching him when he is on the ice, they must work as a team.

Check back here at SenShot for a complete post-game wrap-up.

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