Ottawa in 2012-13:
Finishing fourth in the Northeast Division in 2012-13 with a 25-17-6 record for 56 points, the Senators clinched a playoff berth for the second consecutive season, earning head coach Paul MacLean the 2012-13 Jack Adams Trophy as Coach of the Year. As the seventh seed in the Eastern Conference, Ottawa pulled off a first-round upset of the Montreal Canadiens, defeating the division rival four games to one. The Senators would not be as lucky against the top-seeded Pittsburgh Penguins in the Eastern Conference Semifinal though, as their postseason came to a halt, winning just one game in the best-of-seven series.
Winning, 3-2, in the final meeting between the two clubs on April 9, the Lightning went 2-1-0 versus the Senators last year. The Bolts have compiled a 27-43-2-5 record in 77 games all-time, since Ottawa and Tampa Bay both entered the NHL for the 1992-93 season as expansion teams.
Center Kyle Turris led the Senators offense last season with 12 goals and 17 assists (29 points), while defenseman Sergei Gonchar (27 points) finished second in points. Missing more than half of the 2012-13 campaign after suffering a lacerated Achilles tendon, blueliner Erik Karlsson returned to form, collecting 14 points (six goals, eight assists) in 17 games. Also bothered by injury, goaltender Craig Anderson excelled between the pipes when healthy, recording new career-bests in save percentage (.941) and goals-against average (1.69) and leading the NHL in the same categories through 24 games.
Key Acquisitions and Departures:
After spending 17 seasons with Ottawa, including 14 years as team captain, 40-year-old right-winger Daniel Alfredsson saw his tenure with the Senators come to an end in favor of the Detroit Red Wings. Alfredsson amassed 1,108 points (426 goals, 682 assists) in 1,178 career games with Ottawa. The Senators wasted no time in filling the void left by Alfredsson by signing free-agent Clarke MacArthur and Bobby Ryan during the offseason. MacArthur, who signed a two-year contract, has scored 20 goals in two of his last three seasons with the Toronto Maple Leafs and tallied three points (two goals, one assist) in five games during his first ever postseason appearance in the NHL last year. Ryan, 26, has been a perennial 30-goal scorer as a member of the Anaheim Ducks and recorded 11 goals and 19 assists in 46 games with Anaheim in 2012-13.
Lightning goaltender Ben Bishop was acquired from Ottawa during the 2012-13 season.
In The System:
Making their first pick midway through the first round of this year’s draft, the Senators selected center/left-winger and alternate captain Curtis Lazar of the Edmonton Oil Kings (WHL), where he recorded 61 points (38 goals, 23 assists) in 72 games. Mika Zibanejad, who was the sixth overall pick during the 2011 draft, remains a top prospect for Ottawa, after completing his first full season in the NHL during last year’s campaign. The center finished 2012-13 with seven goals and 13 assists and finished fourth on the Senators in points (20).
Tampa Bay Ties On The Senators:
A member of the 2011-12 Norfolk Admirals Calder Cup-winning team and winner of the Les Cunningham Award as the AHL’s MVP, center Cory Conacher played 35 games with Tampa Bay last season, before being dealt to the Ottawa Senators in exchange for goaltender Ben Bishop.
With Tampa Bay slated to face the majority of their Atlantic Division opponents four times during the 2013-14 campaign, Ottawa is the exception, as the two will play each other five times. The Bolts will host the Senators for the first time during the regular season on Thursday, December 5 and again on Thursday, January 23 before heading to Scotiabank Place for the first time on Thursday, January 30. Their last two meetings will take place in March, first visiting the Senators on Thursday, March 20 and then hosting Ottawa at Tampa bay Times Forum On Monday, March 24.