Ottawa Senators Host Tampa Bay Lighting With Playoff Implications


Sitting three points back of a playoff spot, the Ottawa Senators host another important game. This time the Tampa Bay Lighting are in town. Winners of 5 out of their last 10 games, the Lighting are facing some injuries on the back end of the ice. Defensemen, Jason Garrison, Andrej Sustr and Victor Hedman. The result of these three injuries have had an affect on the Lighting’s winning record. Losing to the Toronto Maple Leafs on Tuesday, 3-1 is one example. Ottawa needs to grab another two points in order for them to stay in the playoff hunt.

(38-26-12), 88 Points

  TV: TSN5  Radio: TSN 1200

Match Up History
Tampa Bay has a hold in the season series, winners of 2 out of the 3 games between the two. But Tampa Bay has earned 5 out of the 6 possible points in the season series. Losing their only game against Ottawa in a shoot out, 3-2. The last game between the two ended with a Lighting victory on January 4th, 4-2.

Players To Watch:

Tampa Bay Lighting: Tyler Johnson, Center
Center, Tyler Johnson is really making a case this year as Tampa Bay’s best player. With his scoring point totals just a point behind Steven Stamkos‘ at 67, the Lighting center anchors one of the best scoring lines in hockey. His linemates Ondrej Palat and Nikita Kucherov have recorded over 60 points each so far this season. Tyler Johnson is listed day-to-day but will most likely suit up for the Blue and White in Ottawa.

Ottawa Senators: Andrew Hammond, Goalie
Andrew made his way back on the saddle with a much needed victory over the Detroit Red Wings on Tuesday. Andrew’s efforts help lifted the Senators, 2-1. Andrew faced 17 shots saving 16 of them. It’s most likely Andrew Hammond will start in net against Tampa Bay Thursday. The Hamburgler fever is going to need spark up again for everyone to be happy. Some sloppy goaltending between Andrew and Craig Anderson have cost us some crucial points. Add that to Dave Cameron‘s questionable line up choices and you have a recipe on how not to make the playoffs.

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Three Keys To The Game:

1. Stop The Big Line : As mentioned earlier, if Tyler Johnson does play, the Senators will have to watch out. With Ondrej Palat and Nikita Kucherov on the wings the “best second line in hockey” will have a huge impact in Thursday’s game as they always do. The importance of shutting down or at least containing the Lighting’s fast paced style of game is one to watch out for.

2. Another Good Effort In Net: We’ve got back in the playoff race because of goaltending and now we need more it. Whether it’s Craig Anderson or Andrew Hammond in net, another good effort will be needed, especially against one of the top teams in the east.

3. Key Players Need To Step Up: Bobby Ryan has been scoreless in the past four games, Mika Zibanejad scoreless in the past four games, Mike Hoffman has scored just a single point. What once was one of the hottest lines in hockey, the trio need to come together and find their groove again. If Dave Cameron doesn’t line them up together tonight then there’s no chance of their recent spark happening again.