Game Day 5

1. The set up:

The Senators are set to face off against the Florida Panthers for the third time this season and the first of two meetings in the next week. Florida took the first two games, first 5-0 at Canadian Tire Centre and then again in a 3-2 overtime battle in Florida. 

These are two teams in very different positions with the Senators on the outside of the playoff picture yet playing some of their best hockey winning five of their last six games. The Panthers on the other hand were President's Trophy front-runners a couple weeks ago and now after losing eight of their last ten games are actively trying to stave of the Maple Leafs for home ice advantage in the first round.

Though not the position they would like to be in, the Senators have thrived playing the spoiler role and will look to do so again against the Panthers. Special teams have been clicking for the Senators of late with the penalty kill stopping 17 of the last 20 power plays, while the Drake Batherson to Jakob Chychrun connection on the power play in particular has been thriving.

2. Roster report:

Thomas Chabot was once again an active participant in practice this morning though he will not be able to go tonight. The Senators re-assigned forward Rourke Chartier to Belleville this morning and after Angus Crookshank suffered a lower body injury against the Wild the Sens recalled forward Jiri Smejkal who will enter the line-up tonight. Joonas Korpisalo is set to make his sixth start in the last seven games tonight. Below is how the Senators lined up at Canadian Tire Centre for morning skate:

Projected Lines Article

3. Who to watch:

The Sens have found some success on the power play of late and a large part of that is courtesy of Jakob Chychrun. With three power play goals and a power play assist in his last five games Chychrun has been a major spark for the Sens power play unit. With Drake Batherson either the primary assist or the recipient of Chychrun's pass, their chemistry on the man advantage has been undeniable.

OTT@MIN: Chychrun scores goal against Marc-Andre Fleury

Chychrun has played in every game for the Sens this season tallying 13 goals and adding 25 helpers for 38 career points. His 13 goals are the second most of his career while the 25 assists is a new career high and he is currently only three points shy of his previous career high of 41 points set in the 2020-21 NHL season. With six points in his last five games, be on the lookout for Chychrun to add to those totals tonight.

OTT@BUF: Chychrun scores goal against Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen

4. Tarasenko's return:

There will be a familiar face on the other side of the ice tonight as the Sens are set to take on Vladimir Tarasenko for the first time since he was traded to the Florida Panthers at the NHL trade deadline. In 57 games Tarasenko scored 17 goals and added 24 assists for 41 total points for the Senators.

While the Panthers are in a good place things have not gone perfectly since Tarasenko joined the division rival. In 13 games since being traded the Panthers have gone 4-8-1 and moved from the top spot in the NHL to a battle for playoff seeding with Toronto and Boston. However, Tarasenko has certainly done his part in that time socring five goals and adding five helpers to nearly be a point per game producer.

Though his tenture in Ottawa was brief he left his mark on this locker room as you can see whenever the players get a chance to speak about his impact. Don't expect the pleasantries to last long for the reunion, once the puck hits the ice this should be a high energy battle as these divisional battles tend to be.

5. Where to watch:

For fans not at Canadian Tire Centre, tonight's game can be found live on TSN5 in English and RDS2 in French, while fans looking for the radio call can tune into TSN1200 and Unique FM 94,5 for the English and French calls respectively.