The Senators have compiled the second-lowest point total in the Eastern Conference with just 39 points through their first 45 games. While Chicago hasn’t been nearly as bad, the Blackhawks still find themselves tied for last place in a heated Central Division race. The Blackhawks are on a point-per-game pace with 46 points in 46 games this season. Can Chicago continue its resurgence on the road in Ottawa on Tuesday night?
Blackhawks hoping to make postseason pushThe Blackhawks got back on the winning track on Saturday night with a 4-2 victory over the lowly Anaheim Ducks. Rookie Dominik Kubalik scored twice and Jonathan Toews finished with a goal and an assist for Chicago while Robin Lehner stopped 35 shots to earn the win.
While the Blackhawks come into the week tied for last place in the division race, there is still plenty of time to get back into the playoff picture. Chicago has been playing its best hockey of the year, and the last time I checked, Patrick Kane was still playing at a high level, so don’t count out the Blackhawks just yet. Kane is on pace for 101 points and the team is only eight points back of the Wild Card pace with just under half of the regular season left to play.
Chicago will turn to Lehner between the pipes once again for Tuesday’s matchup in Ottawa. The 28-year-old is 13-7-4 with a 2.88 GAA and .923 save percentage in 26 games (24 starts) in his first season with the Blackhawks. Lehner is proving that his breakout campaign with the NY Islanders from a year ago was no joke and he’s coming off his best month of the season. In 10 December games (nine starts), he went 7-1-1 with a 2.90 GAA and .923 save percentage. Lehner, who was drafted by the Senators in the second round of the 2009 NHL Draft, made two starts against Ottawa last season, going 1-0-0 with a 2.70 GAA and .886 save percentage in those matchups. Lehner played parts of five seasons with the Senators, so expect him to be fired up for this game.
Sens outplay Canadiens but lose in overtimeOttawa dropped its seventh consecutive contest on Tuesday night, falling short at home in overtime 2-1 versus the Montreal Canadiens. Drake Batherson scored and Marcus Hogberg stopped 23 of 25 shots in a losing effort. Ottawa outshot Montreal 42 to 25 and put major pressure on Montreal in the final moments of regulation but could not find a way to beat Canadiens’ goalie Carey Price.
“We played real hard... We had 42 shots tonight and only gave up 25, and we’re playing way better defensively.”#Sens coach D.J. Smith talks about tonight’s overtime loss to the Canadiens. pic.twitter.com/BpijM6l0zz— Ottawa Senators (@Senators) January 12, 2020
Speaking of goaltenders, the writing is on the wall for 38-year-old veteran Craig Anderson. Over his nearly decade-long stint in Ottawa, the veteran never truly relinquished the No. 1 goaltending job. But now, his reign is finally coming to an end, as head coach D.J. Smith announced that Anderson would be on the bench for the third consecutive contest. Anderson has posted a paltry .851 save percentage over his last four starts and the club seems to be transitioning towards a future without their longtime starter between the pipes.
Marcus Hogberg is scheduled to patrol the crease for the Senators in Tuesday’s game at home against the Blackhawks. Hogberg will be making just his 12th career NHL start but has been solid when given the opportunity. The 25-year-old has just one regulation loss in nine games (seven starts), yet he enters riding a streak of five consecutive losses. Hogberg is 1-2-4 with a 3.02 GAA and .901 save percentage so far this season.
- Blackhawks are 4-0 in their last 4 vs. a team with a losing record.
- Blackhawks are 9-1 in their last 10 vs. Atlantic.
- Blackhawks are 5-1 in their last 6 vs. Eastern Conference.
- Senators are 6-23 in their last 29 Tuesday games.
- Senators are 1-4 in their last 5 vs. Central.
- Senators are 2-12 in their last 14 vs. a team with a losing record.