Game Preview 17 + Open Thread: Ottawa Senators @ San Jose Sharks

Well, there is nowhere else to go but up. As of this writing, the death of the Ottawa Senators sits at the end of the NHL with a paltry nine points from their first sixteen games. You can quarrel a bit with the definition of last to say that Sens is actually 31. with PTS% and the Arizona Coyotes are the really worst team in the league almost a quarter of the way through the season. Whether or not you think Ottawa is the worst team in the league, there can be no doubt that they are currently playing as a bottom resident: 30th place in score- and venue-adjusted CF% and xGF% makes it clear that their the position is well deserved.

Monday night’s match against the Colorado Avalanche was a useful reminder of what a real challenger looks like; The 7-5 goal line flattered Sens deeply and it was just as close that it took a Zach Sanford hat trick (?!).

On top of that, Ottawa will remain without more of its key players: Drake Batherson will stay out on at least this road trip, and Shane Pinto, Colin White and Erik Brännström will all be out of the game in the long run. Things are a little gloomy you could say!

If, on the other hand, you want to look at the bright side of things, there are some positive things to draw on. After all, Sens has only played sixteen games. There are as many as sixty-six left. Maybe they have dug themselves a hole too deep to get out of to make it to the playoffs, but the season’s story is far from written. In addition, with all these injuries and COVID-related absences, there have been plenty of opportunities for players who otherwise would not have gotten them. Our current common eye, Lassi Thomson, would not even be with Ottawa if it were not for everything that has surpassed this team.

There is no guarantee that things will get better right away, or in fact at all, for this is the NHL and no one will give you a win because they feel sorry for you. But there is also a world of opportunities that can save this season yet. Tonight’s game against the San Jose Sharks is just such an opportunity.

Here’s how Sens rehearsed yesterday, and DJ Smith confirmed today that this is how the team will line up. Matt Murray gets started.

Game notes:

  • The attentive among you may have noticed that the above line-up has Tim Stützle at the center between Nick Paul and Connor Brown. With Sens’ depth at the center, now is a good time as something else to give the prodigy a chance to show what he can do.
  • Logan Shaw wore the goat horns after a bad giveaway led to the Avs ending the match on five in the third period on Monday. It’s no surprise then that he’s been replaced by Parker Kelly for tonight’s affair.
  • With Batherson still out, Sanford’s hat-trick gives him a spot in the top unit alongside Brady Tkachuk and Josh Norris. Was the outburst a one-time thing, or does Sanford have some real offensive upsides? He gets the chance to show up one way or another.
  • Sharks is filled with former Sens: Rudolf’s Balcers, and of course Erik Karlsson will fit into San Jose tonight. Jonathan Dahlen, meanwhile, will miss tonight’s affair with an upper body injury.
  • The Sharks got off to a warm start, but have cooled off and are at 9-8-1 for the year. They are somewhere between play-off battle and a rebuild, and they are not Sharks from the last decade, but there is still a lot of skill in that line-up. Sens makes sense to keep an eye on especially Thomas Hertl and Timo Meier.
  • Interestingly, San Jose’s success as it is driven through healthy defensive play, as they boast very respectable defensive measurements with even strength and on PK.
  • Puck drop is 10:30 ET. You can watch TSN5 / RDS or watch on TSN1200 radio.

Statistics:

Here are some stats, politely as always from NHL.com and Natural Stat Trick:

Team statistics

Game 17 Ottawa Senators San Jose Hajer
Game 17 Ottawa Senators San Jose Hajer
Category # Rank # Rank
Goal / GP 2.56 t-23 2.56 t-23
Target Mod / GP 3.69 31 2.78 13
Shot / GP 28.8 26 28.2 30
Shot at / GP 34.6 32 30.1 10
Powerplay% 20.4 14 18.8 17
Penalty Kill% 73.9 28 88.0 4
Courses% (5v5 SVA) 43.93 30 45.48 29
xGF% (5v5 MVA) 45.37 30 46.55 26

Player statistics

Game 17 Ottawa Senators San Jose Hajer
Game 17 Ottawa Senators San Jose Hajer
Category Player # Player #
Goal Josh Norris 7 Thomas Hertl, Jonathan Dahlen 7
Assists Drake Batherson 9 Brent Burns 11
Points Drake Batherson 16 Timo Meier 15
Shot Thomas chabot 43 Timo Meier 55
Time on Ice / GP Thomas chabot 27:29:00 Brent Burns 26:39:00

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