Sunday, January 27, 2013

Penguins Game 5 Preview - @ Ottawa Senators

Ottawa Senators

5:00 p.m., Scotiabank Place, Ottawa, Ontario

Last Penguins Game:
January 25, 2013 - Winnipeg 4, Pittsburgh 2 [Recap]

For a Sunday game a 5:00 p.m. start is sort of weird. As a person that lives in the Central Time Zone this will come as a 4:00 p.m. start for me so it will be a little more like a 3:00 p.m EST start but still I think it is going to be a little different. Like when the puck finally drops at 5:15 or so it will kinda feel like we are all in no mans land of the day and a hockey game is just going to bust out of nowhere. I guess that is just the way it is. Whatever.

The Penguins need a win in a big way. After winning two huge Atlantic Division games to open the season the Penguins have been less than average in two losses including games to Toronto and Winnipeg. The Senators on the other hand have been playing some pretty good hockey, albeit over some average teams, on their way to a 3-1-0 mark with a pair of wins over Florida and a win over Winnipeg. They dropped their only contest of the season to Tampa Bay.

Last season Ottawa just owned Pittsburgh winning three of the four games and scored 22 goals in those four games while giving up 15. It was a high scoring series last year and with offensive weapons like Daniel Alfredsson and Jason Spezza we could be in store for a some more games like this this season.

Craig Anderson should be in net for Ottawa today (tonight?) and has been nothing short of outstanding this season with a 0.67 goals against average and a .976 save percentage. That is pretty good and considering he has stopped 85-of-87 shots in three games coming into the game I think the Penguins are going to have to work damn hard to find the back of the net. Luckily they have the offensive firepower to do so.

Maybe a good thing for the Penguins is that Sidney Crosby might be starting to find that groove. He has three goals in the last two games and while none of the three have been spectacular goals he is still finding the back of the net. He still doesn't seem to be all the way back but when he does get back, yikes.

The power play has been converting at a decent clip but really hasn't looked good at all, especially against Winnipeg in their only chance. Crosby has been turning the puck over, a ton, and nobody really looks in sync. I am sure the Penguins will get a few extra man advantages today and will need to convert.

Marc Andre Fleury is going to be in goal tonight and he doesn't have much success playing in Ottawa. I am not really sure what that means since I am not a fan of records against specific teams since you never really play the same teams with the same players year over year but if that is your vice then there ya go.

Not sure that anyone has done this yet but I am sure some are thinking this way even if they haven't said it yet. This isn't a must win game. Not by a long shot. New Jersey hasn't lost yet and has six points while the rest of the division has four points. It would be a good win for the Penguins to get it but not a must win.


The Probables:

Penguins (2-2-0) (via dailyfaceoff)

Forwards
Chris Kunitz - Sidney Crosby - Pascal Dupuis
Tyler Kennedy - Evgeni Malkin - James Neal
Matt Cooke - Brandon Sutter - Tanner Glass
Eric Tangradi - Joe Vitale - Craig Adams

Defense
Brooks Orpik - Paul Martin
Matt Niskanen - Kris Letang
Deryk Engelland - Ben Lovejoy

Goaltender
Marc Andre Fleury


Senators (3-1-0) (via daily faceoff)

Forwards
Milan Michalek - Jason Spezza - Jakob Silfverberg
Zack Smith - Kyle Turris - Daniel Alfredsson
Colin Greening - Peter Regin - Chris Neil
Kaspars Daugavins - Jim O'Brien - Erik Condra

Defense
Marc Methot - Erik Karlsson
Chris Phillips - Sergei Gonchar
Patrick Wiercioch - Andre Benoit

Goaltender
Craig Anderson


The Last Time They Met:
March 24, 2012 - Ottawa 8, Pittsburgh 4




The Stats

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