Game Day 5

1. The set up:

It's the fourth and final match up between these two Atlantic Division rivals and the Senators will look to wrap up with a season series win tonight. Through the first three meetings the Sens own a 2-1 edge including a win during their last visit to Tampa. Looking for a bounce back after they did not get the result they wanted againt the Panthers the Senators will be hungry early in this contest.

The Senators may look to their leadership group early tonight as Brady Tkachuk sits just one goal away from tying his career high 35 goals set last season. Jacques Martin opted to skate Claude Giroux very lightly over the last two days to spare his energy for tonight's contest so expect to see a competitive showing from him tonight.

The Lightning pose a tall task tonight boasting the leagues top power play unit converting 29.7% of their advantages and the fifth best penalty kill unit staving off 82.9% of the power plays they face. Led by Art Ross Trophy front runner Nikita Kucherov with a mind blowing 139 points coming into tonight, the Senators will have their hands full. As if he wasn't enough of a handfull, the Sens will also have to keep Brayden Point (86), Steven Stamkos (77), and Victor Hedman (76), all with 70+ points on the season, off the score sheet.

Of course, this Lightning team boasts one of the leagues top netminders over the last decade in Andrei Vasilevskiy boastinga 0.901% save percentage and a 2.85 goals against average, this is not an easy team to score against.

With just four games left in the Senators season, expect to see them leave it all on the ice over the next week including tonight. As the season winds down there is an emphasis on playing with pride and setting the tone for what this team can accomplish next season with the foundation in place.

2. Roster report:

While the Senators held an optional skate this morning at Amalie Arena, Jacques Martin was able to provide some insight about the line up tonight. Tim Stützle will not be available to play tonight and Antont Forsberg will get the start between the pipes. The rest of the line up should look as it did Tuesday night against the Panthers.

Projected Lines Article

3. Who to watch:

Facing off against his former team seems to be something that Mathieu Joseph relishes, this season in particular. In three games against the Lightning this season Joseph has three goals and an assist.

Mathieu Joseph with a Powerplay Goal vs. Tampa Bay Lightning

In the midst of a career best season Joseph has scored 11 goals (just two shy of his career high) and 35 total points, nearly ten more than his previous career high. He will look to add to that against his former team that he averages nearly a goal per game with four goals in five career games. 

Facing Tampa Bay's league leading power play Joseph may be put to the test here on the penalty kill, a space that he's been highly effective over his career. Joseph has five career shorthanded goals including one against the Lightning last season when the Senators were facing a Lightning two-man advantage. While the Senators may not expect Joseph to score a shorthanded goal tonight they will rely on his penalty kill abilities tonight.

OTT@TBL: Joseph skates in, snaps a shot in for a SHG

4. Sens embracing physicality:

It was just five days ago that Brady Tkachuk put on an absolute clinic against the New Jersey Devils tallying an NHL record setting 16 hits in the game. That performance seems to have sparked something in the Senators as over their last three games the team is averaging 42 hits and 19 blocked shots per game. A true willingness to lay the body on the line and do whatever it takes to send a message that this Senators team will not go away quietly.

With some skill players out of the line up like Tim Stützle and of course Josh Norris, the Senators have adopted this grit and grind mentality. The additions of players like Jiri Smejkal and Boko Imama as well as Zack MacEwen coming back into the line up has made the Senators a heavier team to compete against and they are showing in night after night recently.

5. Where to watch:

Tonight's game can be found live in English on TSN5 and in French on RDS2. Fans looking for the radio call can tune into TSN1200 and Unique FM 94,5 for the English and French calls respectively.