Gameday Preview: Senators at Lightning

This is the first meeting between these two team this season and in consideration of how well former Senators goaltender Ben Bishop has played, you can rest assured that by the end of this day, you will be sick of anyone who attempts to revisit last season’s Bishop for Cory Conacher and a fourth round pick trade.

Gameday Preview: Senators at Lightning
Ottawa Senators center Colin Greening (14) dumps Tampa Bay Lightning right wing B.J. Crombeen during the second period of an NHL hockey game, Tuesday, April 9, 2013, in Tampa, Fla. Crombeen was penalized for holding on the play. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara)

Ottawa Senators (11-13-4)
@
Tampa Bay Lightning (16-10-1)
Tampa Bay Times Forum: 7:30 pm ET

Storylines…

This is the first meeting between these two team this season and in consideration of how well former Senators goaltender Ben Bishop has played, you can rest assured that by the end of this day, you will be sick of anyone who attempts to revisit last season’s Bishop for Cory Conacher and a fourth round pick trade.

Bishop has been a rock in the Lightning net all season. Of the goalies who have played in 20 or more games, he has the fifth-highest even strength save percentage in the league at .937 and the league’s highest save percentage while his team is shorthanded at .924. He is also amongst the top ten leaders in GAA (2.03), wins (12), and shutouts (2).

Expected to provide some badly needed secondary scoring, Cory Conacher, like many of Ottawa’s other younger wingers, has struggled offensively. What he has proven to be apt at however, is drawing penalties. Proportionate to his ice-time, the undersized pest averages 2.1 penalties drawn per 60 minutes of five-on-five ice-time. It’s the 20th highest rate in the NHL.

But, in a results driven industry, fans also want point production and as a result, fans are predictably going to get caught up in the moment and reassess whether Bryan Murray made the right decision to move a young goaltender to an Atlantic Division rival.

Bishop could put an exclamation point on that discussion by posting a win tonight and he is expected to get the start net in goal for Tampa. If that holds true, it will mark the second time in his career that he has faced the Senators since being dealt to the Lightning at last season’s NHL trade deadline. In his lone start versus the Senators on April 9, 2013 last season, he made 31 of 33 saves in a 3-2 victory.

The Lightning will need Bishop to stand on his head, because they have struggled to score goals in the absence of Steven Stamkos – who broke his right tibia crashing into a goalpost during the November 11th game versus the Bruins.

Tampa has been held scoreless in two straight games and according to Yahoo! Sports, they have never been shut out in three consecutive games.

Although Paul MacLean has not officially named the starting goaltender for the Senators, Anderson is 6-2-2 in his career with a 1.42 GAA, three shutouts, and a save percentage of .948 versus Tampa. And after allowing two consecutive power play goals and spotting the Florida Panthers a 2-0 lead on Tuesday, Craig Anderson held Florida in check the rest of the way and allowed Ottawa to score the 4-2 come from behind win. It would not be surprising to see him back in nets tonight, so that he can continue to build some confidence and momentum.

Interesting Stat #1

Here is a look at what the Tampa offence’s splits before and after Steven Stamkos’ injury:

Before

After

Record:

12-5-0

4-5-1

Goals For/Gam:e

3.06

2.10

Goals Against/Game:

2.47

2.50

Power Play %:

18.5%

12.9%

Shots / Game:

27.1

29.1

Interesting Stat #2

Every Senators fan raves when Chris Phillips scores and for good reason. When he scores, the Senators historically have fared quite well – compiling a record of 52-9-4-2. However, on Tuesday versus Florida, Colin Greening and Erik Condra scored in the same game for only the third time in Senators history. What is Ottawa’s record in these games? It is 3-0-0.

Interesting Stat #3

Here is a look at Cory Conacher’s production since his first 19 games in the NHL:

GP

Goals

Pts

Shots

Shots/Game

Pts/Game

First 19 Games in TB

19

7

18

35

1.84

0.95

Since

56

6

16

66

1.17

0.29 

Interesting Stat #4

The Senators have scored a power play goal in each of their last five games versus the Lightning – 6 for 15 (40.0%).

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