The Ottawa Senators host the New York Rangers tonight for a 7:30 puck drop. The Senators have a 28-26-13 record with 69 points; good enough for 6th place in the Atlantic Division. The Senators are one place out of playoff position in the east, with two games in hand, held by the New York Rangers.
Robin Lehner leads the Senators onto the ice tonight and he is looking to snap his four game losing streak. With a 7-12-5 record, Lehner has been thrust into action after Craig Anderson took a puck to the shoulder against the Nashville Predators on 10 March 2014. Lehner has a 3.13 goals against average and a .910 save percentage. Erik Karlsson leads the team with 44 assists for 61 points followed by Jason Spezza with 37 assists for 55 points. Bobby Ryan leads the team in goals with 22 and is tied with Kyle Turris for third in points with 47; Turris has 21 goals.
Chris Neal leads the team with 153 penalties in minutes. He is the player the Rangers will need to push in order to get power play opportunities. Zach Smith has 83 minutes in penalties and is another player who’s buttons can be pushed to draw penalties. Mats Zuccarello will most likely be looking to get these two guys riled up tonight.
The Senators are a very physical team. They have nine players with more than 100 hits. In order Colin Greening has 205, Chris Neal 203, Jared Cowan 185, Zack Smith 154, Marc Methot 145, Eric Gyrba 124, Chris Phillips 116, Bobby Ryan and Eric Karlsson each have 103. Some of these players are also the biggest shot blockers. Methot has 88 blocks, Karlsson and Cowen have 86 blocks each, and Phillips has 84 blocked shots.
The Senators are a desperate team who are in a position to be scrambling for the post season. They will come out fast and they will play hard to make things happen. They blew a 3 goal lead over the Montreal Canadiens and lost in over time this weekend. If the Rangers want to win they have to get on the board first and keep the pressure through the whole game. Henrik Lundqvist must also be on his game tonight to give the Rangers a boost.