If you thought the Sens had a tough time Tuesday against the Bruins, wait till you see their opponent tonight. Crosby is on fire, Murray is a Calder finalist, Malkin has won the Hart and, oh yeah, they are the reigning Cup Champs and one point back of being first overall in the entire league.
And in the red-black-and-white corner: The System. Biggest claim to fame is that we don't have the best fourth line -- we actually have *two* third lines.
Seriously, though. Anderson had a great game on Tuesday to steal two points. The team in front of him was not so great. It'll take more than Anderson's heroics to get even a point out of the Penguins. We've beaten this team before. We've also been schooled by them. Which outcome happens tonight depends on who shows up to play.
Erik Karlsson has been a PPG player for 30+ games (34 pts in the last 33) and has climbed to within 4 points of Brent Burns, with one game in hand. Mike Hoffman has points in 12 of his last 16 games and has risen to second on the team behind Karlsson, and leads the team with a +14. Turris leads the team with 25 goals, one shy of his career best.
Mark Stone has missed 6 games; Sens are treading water, going 2-2-2 in those games, scoring just 12 goals. Initially it was hoped he would be ready for Tuesday. He actually resumed skating on Tuesday so he is getting closer. Doubtful he plays tonight, but we could certainly use him.
That second pairing continues to be a sore spot. I've sure you've all seen the various stats showing how Phaneuf-Ceci are the worst second pairing in the league, and would not even do very well when compared to third pairings. Personally, I think Wideman has shown enough to warrant swapping them, even if only for a few games to feel the waters. Maybe once they have clinched.
The powerplay has been cold the whole year. Especially at home. Nobody understands why. Everyone on the ice feels quite content to stand in one place and, if they ever touch the puck, they immediately look for an opportunity to pass back to Karlsson. And because everyone is just standing still they risk odd-man breaks or even breakaways going the other way (like what happened in Boston). Pierre thinks that Colin White (20 year old sophomore from Boston College -- you know, the one with zero pro experience) can step in a help the powerplay. And you know what, that's the best idea I've heard all year, because it's clear that nothing else has worked. Dorion, sign the kid, already.
As always, Go Sens Go!!!