Gameday Preview: Senators at Blues

This is the second and last game this season between these two non-Conference teams.

Gameday Preview: Senators at Blues
Bobby Ryan #6 of the Ottawa Senators scores a third period goal against Brian Elliott #1 of the St. Louis Blues at Canadian Tire Centre on December 16, 2013 in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. (Photo by Andre Ringuette/NHLI via Getty Images)

Ottawa Senators (24-21-11)
@
St. Louis Blues (37-12-5)
Scottrade Center: 8:00 pm ET
Television: Sportsnet, TVA

Backstory…

This is the second and last game this season between these two non-Conference teams.

After being mired in mediocrity for most of the first two months of the season, many fans and pundits point to the Senators’ first game against the Blues on Dec. 16 as their first complete 60-minute effort of the season.

Jean-Gabriel Pageau staked the Senators to a 1-0 lead before Chris Stewart replied twice in the second period for the Blues. Bobby Ryan added a goal in the third to set the stage for Cody Ceci to score his first career NHL goal in overtime.

Robin Lehner stopped 30 of 32 shots for the win while Brian Elliott made 29 saves on 32 shots for the loss.

Storylines…

Coming off a 3-2 overtime loss in Pittsburgh last night, there’s no rest for the Senators. They are back at it against one of the Western Conference’s elite teams and, like it has been for the past number of weeks, if the Senators hope to keep pace with the other Eastern Conference bubble playoff teams, they desperately need to win and keep picking up points.

After Detroit shut out Vancouver 2-0 last night, the Senators and three other Eastern Conference teams now sit three points back of the Red Wings’ second wild card seed.

The rested Blues have had two days off since beating the Nashville Predators 4-3 in a shootout on Saturday.

After being made a healthy scratch in Saturday night’s game versus the Toronto Maple Leafs to address the team’s toughness, center Stephane Da Costa drew back into the lineup last night and scored his third goal in his past three games.

He has been a bit of a bright light since being recalled from Binghamton and with his goal last night, Da Costa now has as many even strength goals (two) in his past three games as Jason Spezza does in his last 43 games.

Spezza was the target of some post-game angst following his play along the boards that, coupled with Colin Greening’s ill-advised attempt at a line change, contributed to Pittsburgh’s game-winning goal in overtime.

After 11 and a half minutes elapsed in the third period, Clarke MacArthur did not take another shift for the Senators. If he misses tonight’s game, expect Matt Kassian to draw back into the lineup.

With Craig Anderson starting last night’s game, it is anticipated that Robin Lehner will get tonight’s start.

Interesting Stat#1

The Senators have a 1-5-2 record in the second game of back-to-backs this season. In these games, the Senators have been outscored 29-18.

Interesting Stat #2

Since Ken Hitchcock took over behind the Blues’ bench on Nov. 6, 2011, the St. Louis have compiled the NHL’s third highest cumulative goal differential. (Note: these numbers do not include results from last night’s games.)

Rk

Team

Goal Differential

1

Pittsburgh Penguins

129

2

Boston Bruins

124

3

St. Louis Blues

120

4

Chicago Blackhawks

99

5

Anaheim Ducks

60

Interesting Stat #3

Weird stat dept: Jason Spezza’s last even strength goal: Nov. 24. Twenty-eight games ago. Bobby Ryan’s last pp goal: Dec. 23.

— Wayne Scanlan (@HockeyScanner) February 4, 2014

It has been some time since Bobby Ryan last scored on the power play, but it’s worth noting that in the month of December, he spent approximately 47 minutes on the power play. In the month of January, he only had a total of 26 power play minutes.

Interesting Stat #4

Via the Blues’ media notes, the Blues are 53-0-1 in their last 54 games in which they score three or more goals at home. When they have scored three or more goals at home this season, they are 18-0-0.

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