The Ottawa Senators will look to end their losing streak by beating another team trying to do the same as the New Jersey Devils visit the Canadian Tire Centre tonight. The Senators should have a huge advantage playing at home as the Devils have also been exceptionally brutal on the road, with a 4-10-4 record. They are currently 11 points out of an Eastern Conference wildcard spot and five points behind Ottawa.
It will be Mike Condon to start for Ottawa, while the Devils will be starting backup goaltender Keith Kinkaid tonight.
Ottawa Senators vs. New Jersey Devils
Canadian Tire Centre – 7 p.m. EST
Broadcast channels – SN 360 and MSG+
2016-17 Season Series: first match-up of the season
Ottawa Senators – 16-11-3 – 35 Points
2nd in Atlantic Division
Home Record: 9-5-3
Hot Players: Erik Karlsson, Mark Stone, Dion Phaneuf
Key absences: Fredrik Claesson (hip), Clarke MacArthur (concussion), Craig Anderson (personal leave), Mike Hoffman (suspension)
Zack Smith – Derick Brassard – Mark Stone
Ryan Dzingel – Kyle Turris – Bobby Ryan
Tom Pyatt – Jean-Gabriel Pageau – Curtis Lazar
Casey Bailey – Chris Kelly – Chris Neil
Marc Methot – Erik Karlsson
Dion Phaneuf – Cody Ceci
Mark Borowiecki – Chris Wideman
New Jersey Devils – 12-11-6 – 30 Points
11 points out of wild card spot
Road record: 4-10-4
Hot Players: Adam Henrique, Taylor Hall
Key Injuries: none
Taylor Hall – Travis Zajac – Kyle Palmieri
Miles Wood – Adam Henrique – Michael Cammalleri
Sergey Kalinin – Jacob Josefson – Nick Lappin
Luke Gazdic – Vernon Fiddler – Devante Smith-Pelly
Andy Greene – Damon Severson
John Merrill – Ben Lovejoy
John Moore – Kyle Quincey
[miptheme_dropcap style=”normal” color=”#222222″ background=””]1)[/miptheme_dropcap] Ottawa will be without Mike Hoffman for tonight and tomorrow, as he received a two-game suspension for delivering a rough cross-check to the head of Sharks forward Logan Couture on Wednesday. Zack Smith will begin the game taking Hoffman’s place on the top forward line, and it will be interesting to see if he can demonstrate any of the abilities that allowed him to score 25 goals last season.
[miptheme_dropcap style=”normal” color=”#222222″ background=””]2)[/miptheme_dropcap] The Senators called up Casey Bailey to fill in for Hoffman as he serves his suspension. He is currently the team’s AHL affiliate’s top goal scorer and tied for most in points on the team. He was one of the prospects involved in the Dion Phaneuf trade last season and this will be the first time wearing an Ottawa uniform.
Casey Bailey makes his #Sens debut tonight, and the Sens talk about facing the Devils for the first time this season tonight @CdnTireCtr. pic.twitter.com/Lsii2R4BhU
— Ottawa Senators (@Senators) December 17, 2016
[miptheme_dropcap style=”normal” color=”#222222″ background=””]3)[/miptheme_dropcap] Although both teams are among the bottom third in goals scored per game, the Senators hold the advantage in the goals allowed per game statistic. While Ottawa allows 2.7 goals per game, the Devils allow 2.97. However, Kinkaid has better stats than Corey Schneider in seven starts, so the Senators should not be complacent and should try to get at him early and get him off his game.
[miptheme_dropcap style=”normal” color=”#222222″ background=””]4)[/miptheme_dropcap] The Senators will continue to try and focus on their special teams. After struggling on the penalty kill during their last road trip, they were able to kill off all seven of their penalties on Wednesday during their first home game back. The Devils’ power-play runs at 15.1% – 23rd in the league – so shutting it down could be one of the keys to victory.
The Senators won’t want to see their losing streak increase to four games tonight. Coming out with a strong start will be crucial. The Devils have very little secondary scoring, so the Ottawa coaching staff will focus in on defending against their top two lines. New Jersey’s defence is also vulnerable, so getting an early lead – especially by scoring the game’s first goal – will go a long way.