|Nashville Predators||Ottawa Senators|
|5-on-5 Close SF/60||29.7||14th||33.3||3rd|
|5-on-5 Close SA/60||27.2||4th||33.8||27th|
|5-on-5 Close Save %||.906||29th||.926||14th|
|# of PP's/Gm||3.05||27th||3.39||15th|
|# of PK's/Gm||3.08||4th||3.95||29th|
After hanging around the Eastern Conference playoff race for a long while, a recent 2-4 stretch has done serious damage to Ottawa's post-season hopes. SportsClubStats.com has them pegged for a 7.6% chance of earning a spot, down from about 30% in January.
What hopes remain rest partly on the shoulders of the newest Senator, Ales Hemsky, who was acquired from the Edmonton Oilers for a pair of draft picks. Hemsky is a daring puckhandler and has excellent vision in the offensive zone, and in Saturday's game against Winnipeg he notched three assists.
The big name offensively in Ottawa is defenseman Erik Karlsson, however, and he leads the team (and all NHL defensemen) once again with 57 points in 64 games.
If you check out the stats table above, there's a gigantic area of opportunity which the Predators can exploit tonight. The Sens take a lot of penalties, and their PK unit is among the worst in the league. The Preds have done pretty well this season on the power play, and an early PP goal would do wonders for the team's confidence considering how little they've scored in the last few home games.
Despite the disappointing 1-5 home stand which has put a fork in Nashville's playoff aspirations, the good news these days is that Pekka Rinne is back, and looks like Pekka Rinne again. Re-establishing Rinne as a dominant NHL goaltender is probably the most important thing we can hope for out of the Predators down the stretch, besides getting a look at how the prospects in Milwaukee look against NHL competition.
UPDATE: In time for tonight's game, Colton Sissons has been recalled from the Admirals.