Game Day 5

1. The set up:

The Senators are back in action for the back half of a back-to-back. Wow that's a lot of back! 

Fresh off a big 4-2 victory over division foes Tampa Bay Lightning, the Sens head south to Sunrise to wrap up this road trip taking on the Florida Panthers at Amerant Bank Arena. Not an easy task facing what might be the hottest team in hockey, winning nine of their last ten games and sitting just one point behind Boston with a game in hand for the top of the Eastern Conference. 

Florida boast one of the best defensive structures in the league, holding opponents to just 2.44 goals per game on 27.6 shots, both the second fewest in the NHL. Add in their dynamite penalty kill (83.1%) ranking fourth and this team does not give up much. On the other side of the puck they have stars like Sam Reinhart with 39 goals this season and Matthew Tkachuk, Carter Verhaege, and Aleksander Barkov averaging over a point per game. Suffice it to say this team is dangerous on either side of the puck and the Sens will have their work cut out for them tonight.

However, the Senators come into this contest as no slouches themselves. With the exception of a small bump in the road taking losses to the Ducks and Blackhawks, the Sens have been playing some of their best hockey over the last five weeks. 9-4-2 since Jan. 13 and trying to make up ground in the playoff race down the stretch, the Sens could pose a tough foe to the Panthers tonight. Key to victory will be continuing to play as a group of five, laying their bodies on the line to block shots, getting sticks in the passing lanes, and giving their goalies good lines on shots that do get through. It's a lot for sure, but it's becoming part of the Senators identity here quickly.

2. Roster report:

With the back-to-back the Sens won't hold a morning skate today. Below is how the Senators lined up against Tampa Bay last night, though we expect to see Joonas Korpisalo in net since Forsberg played last night.

Projected Lines Article

3. Who to watch:

After an outing like last night, it's hard not to shine the spotlight on Mathieu Joseph. The sixth-year forward scored twice last night including the game-winning goal to help the Sens out of a minor slump and guide them to victory against a strong Tampa Bay team. It was his first multi-goal game of the season and he brought it out against a familiar opponent in his former team, a team he has made a habit out of scoring against.

OTT@TBL: Joseph scores goal against Andrei Vasilevskiy

Joseph is in the midst of a career season with 10 goals already and a career best 17 assists, he set a career high in points last night with 27 points still with 30 games to play. Look for Joseph to build on his breakout season tonight as the Sens look to make it back-to-back wins.

OTT@TBL: Joseph scores goal against Andrei Vasilevskiy

4. Tkachuk vs Tkachuk:

Tonight will be the 20th time the Tkachuk's teams will face-off against each other and in the last season and a half that has brought high energy battles. In their 19 match ups thus far, Matthew owns an 11-8 edge in games while scoring six goals and adding 15 assists for 21 total points. Brady on the other hand has six goals of his own and has five assists for 11 total points in the head-to-head match up. 

Since joining the same division the last outings have gotten notably spicier. In the last two meetings alone the Tkachuk brothers pick up a combined 61 penalty minutes. Not to say that we're expecting anything but we will not be surprised to see a spirited battle between these two clubs led by the Tkachuk brothers tonight.

5. Where to watch:

This afternoon's game can be found live on TSN5 in English and RDS in French. Additionally, TSN1200 and Unique FM 94,5 have you covered on the radio with the English and French calls.