Oct. 29: Game Day Preview

Jason Spezza. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/ Patrick Doyle)

Ottawa Senators (4-5-2)
@
Chicago Blackhawks (7-2-3)

8:00 PM EST
Television: Rogers Sportsnet East
Radio: TSN 1200

For the third straight game, the Senators will face a Western Conference opponent that played the night before.
Having lost to Anaheim and San Jose already, the Sens will be looking to turn their fortunes around against the defending Stanley Cup champions.

Storylines:

The biggest news coming out of yesterday’s afternoon practice was the players delayed the start of it by half an hour – thanks to their closed door players-only meeting.
I doubt the players were discussing the benefits of facing Nikolai Khabibulin as opposed to Corey Crawford – last night’s starter versus Minnesota – but facing a goalie who’s sporting a .818 save percentage would certainly help.


Okay, so much for that.
A key point brought up from yesterday’s meeting was brought up by Jason Spezza – emphasizing the importance of playing simple and getting on the scoreboard first.
“We had a good open discussion in the room, we (talked about making) some adjustments, our starts are not the way we want them to be and that has to change. It’s a good opportunity to try and use this.
As a team you’ve got to grow.”

Lines for Tonight
Ottawa:
Michalek – Spezza – Ryan
MacArthur – Turris – Zibanejad
Conacher – Smith – Neil
Greening – Grant – Condra
Methot – Karlsson
Cowen – Corvo
Phillips – Wiercioch
Anderson

Chicago:
Sharp – Toews – Hossa
Saad-Pirri-Kane
Bickell-Shaw-Morin
Bolig-Kruger-Mill
Keith-Seabrook
Oduya-Hjalmarsson
Leddy-Brookbank
Crawford

Important Stat #1
For a Senators team that is struggling to score first, it simply isn’t reassuring to know that the Chicago Blackhawks are 7-0-2 when tallying first. Oh, and since the game is in the Windy City, it would probably be worthwhile to mention that the Hawks currently have the longest active winning streak in the NHL (regular season only) at 15 games (11-0-4).

Important Stat #2

Ottawa has not won in Chicago since March 28th, 2001. It was a 5-2 win for the Sens in which Mike Sillinger, Alexei Yashin, Marian Hossa, Shawn McEachern and Mike Fisher scored goals. Jani Hurme made 17 of 19 saves for the win.

Important Stat #3
The Blackhawks currently sport the league’s second best shot differential in the league — +8.0 shots per game. Only the San Jose Sharks average a better shot differential (+13.3) per game than Chicago.

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