The mauling received by the Montreal Canadiens last weekend is still fresh in the minds. To win the Atlantic, the Ottawa Senators have to at least claim a point tonight.
One area that the Ottawa Senators have to improve on tonight against the Canadiens is clearing the screens for Anderson to get clear sight of the puck. Montreal simply bullied Ottawa over the two games finding so much space in front of the net. From this space, they were either screening or snapping up rebounds.
Mark Stone Returns
A huge boost for the Ottawa Senators as the right winger slots back into the lineup. He has been dearly missed, there’s no two ways about that. Stone will be looking to add to the 50 points that he has accumulated in 63 games this season.
Not only adding points, Stone adds a different dimension of leadership that isn’t seen with Karlsson. An incredibly passionate player, he can fundamentally get this going. Not only does he talk the talk, he also walks the walk. There have been some criticisms directed toward certain players when things haven’t gone to plan, citing lack of effort as one of the main causes.
He works as hard as any player on that team and drives others to do so. Another stat that sticks out for me with Stone is his shooting percentage. An impressive 18.3 percent, Stone undoubtedly makes the most of his chances.
Second Line Strength
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With Stone slotting back into the team, that second line is looking so much stronger. Burrows, Brassard and Stone will be formidable to play against. Adding size, skill and determination they should wreck havoc on the Montreal Canadiens defence.
It isn’t strictly a must-win for the Ottawa Senators, they could still win the Atlantic with a loss tonight. However, with only nine games remaining they might make it extremely tough for themselves. A point is the minimum for this side.
Many fans have said they don’t want to win the division to have an “easier” playoff tie. Nonsense in my opinion, play the best and attempt to beat the best. A division title would be an amazing achievement for this organisation. It would be unlikely for them to go the distance this time out and a division title would leave the fans happy.