Ottawa Senators at Minnesota Wild on Dec. 16, 2010

The Ottawa Senators picked up three of a possible four points in their last two games and look to take that success on the road.

Ottawa Senators at Minnesota Wild on Dec. 16, 2010
Kyle Turris #7 of the Ottawa Senators scores during the shootout against the Pittsburgh Penguins during the game at Consol Energy Center on April 13, 2014 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The Senators defeated the Penguins 3-2 in a shootout. (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)

THE STORY: The Ottawa Senators picked up three of a possible four points in their last two games and look to take that success on the road. After facing off against the Wild Thursday night, they head straight to Colorado for a contest against the Avalanche. While that certainly represents a tough travel schedule, they do have on thing working in their favour: The Dads.

THE SUBPLOTS: There are a couple of them in this one. It’s the first time the Senators will face centre Matt Cullen, assuming a nagging groin injury doesn’t keep him out of the game. The in-season pickup starred for the Senators in the playoffs last season and expressed interest in staying in the capital, but the salary cap had other ideas. Could Brian Lee, the Moorhead, Minnesota, native who the Senators have scratched in 25 straight contests, find his way onto the ice?

THE WILDCARD: Pascal Leclaire, Senators. If the goaltending and scoring could come together at the same time, this team might actually string a few wins together. The Senators played a strong contest against the Atlanta Thrashers Monday, but were done in by a poor outing for Brian Elliott. Ottawa will be counting on better results from Leclaire.

THE OPPONENT: Minnesota is another team, like Ottawa, that finds itself in the no-man’s-land section of its conference. Bad enough to be on the brink of falling out of the playoff race, but not bad enough to generate interest in a possible draft lottery pick. The Wild are also hamstrung by the fact they play on the NHL’s more competitive side. Their 30 points put them 13th in the West, while Ottawa’s 29 have them 10th in the East.

THE QUOTE: “There’s a lot of pressure with the dads around, a lot of strong opinions. We definitely feel like we need to play well in front of them, especially when you have to go home to a room, alone, with your dad. We definitely have to make sure we play well.” — Jason Spezza, joking around about the Senators bringing their fathers on the trip.

THE SICK BAY: Senators — RW Alex Kovalev (illness), G Pascal Leclaire (lower body). Wild — C Matt Cullen (groin), C John Madden (upper body), LW Guillaume Latendresse (groin), Josh Tordjman (suspended), G Josh Harding (leg), C James Sheppard (knee).

THE PREDICTION: The Senators have shown some signs of life the past two games, but there are several factors leading me to pick the Wild in this spot. First of all, Eastern Conference teams never seem to have much luck in Western rinks. Second, while the Wild aren’t great at home (7-6-2), Ottawa has been worse in enemy rinks (5-8-1). This could be a tough trip all around. Senators 2, Wild 3.

What do you think? Leave a comment