Thursday, December 8th, 2011

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Game Day: Ottawa Senators @ New Jersey Devils

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Thursday, December 8th, 2011

7:00 pm

Rogers Sportsnet, Team 1200

SENATORS – T-8th East (13-12-3)  @  NEW JERSEY – 12th East (13-12-1)

The Ottawa Senators travel to New Jersey to face the Devils in a Thursday night match that is the Sens 3rd game in 4 nights.  The Senators are taking to the ice 24 hours after a third period that saw them give up 4 goals in the 5-3 loss to the Washington Capitals.

New Jersey comes in struggling, having lost 4 of their last 5, but did defeat the Toronto Maple Leafs 3-2 in OT to break their losing skid.  Martin Brodeur will get the start against the Sens, and he has struggled to say the least.  His GAA is over 3 and his SP is less than .900, which is rarified air for one of the best goalies ever.

Alex Auld will take the Ottawa net for the second half of the back to back. Nikita Filatov will be the odd man out again for the Senators, as Bobby Butler remains in the lineup.

This is like a four point game for both clubs as an Ottawa win will vault them back into a playoff spot and keeps New Jersey down and a Devils win puts them right in the mix.

PLAYERS TO WATCH

Jason Spezza, C (OTT) – The 2nd overall pick in the 2001 NHL draft is facing off against the player who was selected ahead of him, Ilya Kovalchuk.  The Senators’ #1 centre has struggled in the last few games as he has been playing primarily with inexperienced, struggling players such as Colin Greening, Bobby Butler and Nikita Filatov.

Ilya Kovalchuk, LW (NJD) – The first overall pick in 2001 has had difficulty finding his place in New Jersey.  His 17 games in 21 points is respectable, but not the level of production the Devils expected when signing him to a contract that totaled $100 M.  He is heating up now, however, with 6 points (3G, 3A) in his last 5 games.

3 KEYS TO A SENATORS VICTORY

1. Get to Brodeur – Not the goalie he used to be, Martin Brodeur is nearing the end of his career.  He is no longer the dominant goalie every night he once was, but can still put a genius game together here and there.  Getting to him early will keep that from happening tonight.

2.  Give Spezza someone to play with – Now that Nick Foligno is rolling, its time to put either Michalek or Alfredsson with Spezza and Greening on a more regular basis.  Spezza is spinning his wheels with Butler on the wing, and needs to get some offensive players with him if he is going to get out of his funk.

3.  Ignore the Refs – The duo that is going to be officiating tonight’s game is the same pair that did last night’s match.  They were not popular with the Senators and their fans, but they need to push that frustration aside and focus on the game at hand.

Check back after the game for a full recap.

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