#9 Edmonton Oilersvs.#10 Ottawa Senators
Written by Valdis Pans
Edmonton Oilers (20-13-4-3) vs. Ottawa Senators (20-13-3-1)
When: 7:00 PM ET, Sunday, January 8, 2017
Where: Canadian Tire Centre, Ottawa, Ontario
Lines: Ottawa -130/Edmonton +110
Having lost their past three games, the Ottawa Senators (2nd in Atlantic) are embarking on a 4-game homestand with a back-to-back schedule, which will see the second game hosted against the Edmonton Oilers (3rd in Pacific), who will also be playing the second of a back-to-back set…
The Edmonton Oilers (20-13-7) will finish off their 4-game road trip with a back-to-back program against the New Jersey Devils on Saturday, with a trip to the Ottawa Senators scheduled just 24 hours later. The Oilers were entering the upcoming double-header with just two wins in their past five games (2-1-2) and on the back of a 4-3 victory in Boston against the Bruins on Thursday. Patrick Maroon (14 goals, 21 points for the year) got his first NHL hat trick in the contest, which also saw Ryan Nugent-Hopkins net his 8th goal of the current campaign for his 19th point. Connor McDavid was leading the NHL in points before the weekend, having scored 14 times alongside 31 assists.
Cam Talbot was coming into the back-to-back set as the goalie with most starts in the league this season (36), having gone 19-11-6 until Saturday with a 2.48 GAA. He is 3-2-0 against Ottawa in previous meetings with a dependable 1.61 career GAA. The Oilers were sitting 10th in the league with 47 points from 40 games and had a pretty good 11-6-5 road record. They were averaging the 9th highest quantity of goals scored per contest (2.83), allowing the 11th lowest amount in their defensive zone (2.60 per game). The Oilers ranked 9th in power play conversions with a solid 20.9% success rate and 18th in penalty kill with an alright 81.1% efficiency.
Having lost three outings in a row (0-2-1), the Ottawa Senators are starting a 4-game homestand, which will begin with a back-to-back series against the Washington Capitals on Saturday, followed by a clash against the Edmonton Oilers just 24 hours later. The game against the Caps will be the second part of a home-and-home set, which already started with a 2-1 victory for Washington at Verizon Center on New Year’s Day. Kyle Turris (13 goals, 25 points for the year) buried the only puck for Ottawa, becoming the 14th player in the Senators’ history to have scored 100 NHL goals. Erik Karlsson was the top points-guy, coming into the weekend with 7 goals and 25 assists.
With netminder Craig Anderson still on an indefinite leave because of an illness to his wife, Mike Condon had featured in all 14 games since Dec.1, starting 12 of them. He was 8-4-3 for the year before Saturday with a 2.41 GAA and will meet the Oilers for the first time in his two season spell in the NHL. The Senators positioned 13th in the league with 44 points in 37 games and had an OK 11-5-4 home record. They were scoring the 10th lowest portion of goals per outing (2.46), allowing the 13th lowest amount on the defensive end (2.62). Ottawa had the 9th worst power play unit with a lowly 16.0% success rate and 0-for-11 record in their previous three games. Their penalty kill ranked 13th with a not-so-bad 82.5% efficiency.
The previous matchup between the two teams this season finished with a 2-0 away victory for Ottawa. And while there have been plenty of goals scored during this series over the past few years, this one is likely to stay on the low-scoring side, with both equally good in defense, both not scoring huge amounts of goals lately, both tired after a game just 24 hours earlier…
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Valdis got his first ever article published when he was 13, and has rarely stopped. He has worked for FHM, MTV Baltics and has done loads of freelance (from columns for Cosmopolitan magazine to helping with organization of Macy Gray’s shows in the Northern Europe). Speaks five different languages, loves pizza, American Horror Story and pipe organ music, and knows European soccer better than dates of his family members’ birthdays. Is an avid fan of ice-hockey too. He is a Latvian after all...