Preview: Ottawa at Edmonton
When: 9:00 PM ET, Tuesday, February 23, 2016
Where: Rexall Place, Edmonton, Alberta
The Ottawa Senators face an uphill climb in the chase for the final playoff berth in the Eastern Conference, but they can match a season-high winning streak when they open a three-game trip through Western Canada with a visit to the Edmonton Oilers on Tuesday. Despite a three-game winning streak, Ottawa resides six points behind eighth-place Pittsburgh.
Goaltender Craig Anderson has been in net for each of the victories, including a pair of shootout wins, for the Senators. Anderson stopped 92-of-102 shots during the streak to earn NHL Third Star of the Week honors on Monday. “I like the style we’re playing right now,” Anderson said. “We’re playing consistent and together as a group and it’s getting us some wins, so it’s some positive reinforcement for us.” The Oilers have dropped a season high-tying four in a row (0-3-1) and seven of eight (1-6-1) as they wrap up a six-game homestand.
TV: 9 p.m. ET, RDS, TSN5 (Ottawa), Sportsnet West (Edmonton), NHL.TV
ABOUT THE SENATORS (28-26-6): Defenseman Dion Phaneuf, acquired in a nine-player blockbuster trade with Toronto, made his first goal with Ottawa count, forcing overtime with a late third-period tally to earn thunderous applause from the home fans. As important as the goal was, Senators coach Dave Cameron heaped praise on Phaneuf for what he has brought to the team’s blue line. “You can’t overestimate what Dion Phaneuf has done in terms of our top-four defensemen and the breakouts, the D-zone coverage,” Cameron said. “All those things have improved since Dion came here.”
ABOUT THE OILERS (22-32-6): Coach Todd McLellan spent Monday’s practice trying to rectify a power player that has converted on 3-of-26 chances over the past eight games since going 3-for-3 with the extra skater against Ottawa on Feb. 4. “It has to create some confidence, create some momentum in games,” McLellan told the team’s official website. “Sometimes that is happening, sometimes it hasn’t. The really good teams prevent the dips.” Jordan Eberle scored twice against the Senators earlier this month, part of a stretch in which he has seven goals and six assists in 10 games.
1. Anderson has four shutouts in 15 starts versus Edmonton.
2. Oilers rookie Connor McDavid has 15 points in 10 games since returning from a fractured clavicle.
3. Ottawa is 0-for-8 on the power play over the past three contests.
PREDICTION: Senators 3, Oilers 2