They’re back! Again!
After another random two day break, the Ottawa Senators kick off a tough three game Western Conference road trip against the Colorado Avalanche. Following tonight’s game, they head to Las Vegas to party. And for a Sunday night showdown against the Golden Knights. Then they close out the trip on Tuesday in Arizona.
Should be a tough test for a Senators team that has got off to a decent start this year.
Tonight’s opposition has been one of the league’s hottest teams in the early going.
For all the love the Bruins top line has been getting this year, the Avalanche may have the league’s best trio right now. Nathan MacKinnon, Mikko Rantanen and Gabriel Landeskog have been pretty much unstoppable this season. And by pretty much unstoppable, I mean completely unstoppable.
Basically the game is already 1-0 Colorado.? Both MacKinnon and Rantanen have put up at least a point in every single game this season. Well except for the last one when they were shutout by the Tampa Bay Lightning. So never mind, it turns out they’re in a slump. All clear, Sens fans!
As good as that top line has been, one of the most impressive things about this Avs teams has been their ability to keep teams off the scoreboard.? They’ve allowed just 2.0 goals against per game leading the league in that category. And their penalty kill sits 3rd overall, killing off 88.9% of the opposition’s opportunities.
Can probably chalk that up to an absurd team save percentage of .942% including a ridiculous .953% from Semyon Varlamov. They’ll go with Philipp Grubauer tonight.
Safe to say all eyes will be on Matt Duchene tonight as he returns to Colorado for the first time since last year’s blockbuster trade.
Duchene played the first 586 games of his NHL career with the Avs before being shipped out mid-game last year.? He was a fan favourite in Colorado for years until things started to go off the rails in his last couple seasons there.
It will be interesting to see what kind of reception he gets from the Avs faithful tonight. It will be especially interesting to see how they react when he scores his 2nd goal of the night. Oooops spoiler alert!
Game Day skate will be a little late today as the Senators are in whatever wacky time zone they have in Colorado.
Yesterday, the Senators recalled Christian Wolanin from Belleville but he won’t play tonight. Mark Borowiecki is out with a suspension and Ben Harpur is still hurt.? Cody Ceci and Max McCormick both draw back in.
Craig Anderson, who is making a less dramatic return to Colorado, gets the start in net for Ottawa. Puck drop isn’t till 9:00 PM, so pace yourselves.
The game is available on TSN5, on the radio at TSN1200 and if you really want to let loose on a Friday night, you can watch a bootlegged version periscoped by Marc Crawford (also returning to Colorado!) from behind the bench. Will share the link later.
Now, time to get lost in the beauty of tonight’s Head2Head Table.