Ottawa arrives in town tonight, fresh off a win over a St. Louis team that has been playing better than its record. This is a "Watch Out!!!!" game for the Jackets, who have demonstrated the ability to play at or below the level of competition we should beat. Although Ottawa is 17-22-7 for the year, they are 4-1-1 over their last 6 games, and show signs of breaking out of offensive doldrums
Alffredson, Spezza and Heatly are the beasts for Ottawa. Control them, and you have the tiger pretty well cornered. We want to keep them playing 5 vs. 5 as well. The Sens are 16th on the PP, having scored 36 of their 112 total goals with an extra man. They are also an impressive 8th in the league on the PK. Alex Auld is slated to be in the net for Ottawa. He is 9 - 11 this year, with a 2.64 GAA and .907. He went through a bad spell around Christmas, leading to the callup of Brian Elliott.
Keys for this one are no different than the others:
--Hitch Hockey -- Tight checking, good forecheck, lanes for Mason to see through.
--Create Space -- In the offensive zone and on the PP, create space, move the puck, put lots of rubber on net
--Play Smart -- Stay out of the box, don't get drawn into stupid fights, clear the puck, crisp passing.
Calder Preview -- THN has a nice preview of the Calder Trophy race here. It's a good read for Mason fans!
Uncharted Waters: A win tonight will put the CBJ in a flat-footed tie for 5th place with Phoenix, Anaheim and the winner of the Edmonton/Minnesota game later tonight. The better news is that we have games in hand over both Phoenix and Anaheim. We do give away a game to the Edmonton/Minnesota winner, but a win tonight puts us firmly above the line, with another huge game tomorrow against Dallas.