Martel's Musings: Game 14 - Nashville vs Ottawa

The Senators pose an interesting challenge for Nashville as Ottawa sits second in the Atlantic division behind the Montreal CanadiensThis is the second game of five for the Predators current homestand.

Tuesday's tilt against the Ottawa Senators will mark the seventh game this season against an Eastern Conference opponent and last matchup between the Predators and Senators.

It also marks the last time this season that two teams ending in "ators" will face off against each other. That's a fantastic note in and of its own right.

Last season, Nashville was shut out only once at home -- and only four times total: an early season 3-0 loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins. The Predators were shut out this past Saturday night by the St. Louis Blues by a final score of 4-0.

After each of the four times they were shut out last year, Nashville was a perfect 4-0-0 in its next outing

Stats and Interesting Notes of the Day

No Winning Record: Nashville hasn't found a ton of success against the Senators at home or on the road. All-time through 20 contests, the Predators are 4-4-1 at home against Ottawa and 5-6-0 -- including their October 17th shoot-out win -- on the road.

Recent Success: Ottawa's record in its previous six games stands strong at 4-1-1, which includes a 2-1 overtime victory against the powerhouse Montreal Canadiens.

Shoot-out Prone: Of all 30 teams across the league, the Senators have ventured to more shoot-outs this season than any other with five trips. Nashville owns one of the only two losses Ottawa has in the decisive frame.

Three Things vs Ottawa

Make-up for Saturday
It's tough to watch everything being thrown at the opposing netminder get stopped, be it by him or by the post.

Nashville saw that up-close and personal against the Blues on Saturday night, rocketing 45 shots at St. Louis goalie Jack Allen and finding itself blanked on five separate power plays -- including a lengthy five-on-three attempt.

The old hockey adage goes that if you can't score on a five-on-three, you most likely won't win the game. It didn't help that Nashville had trouble finding the broad side of a barn when shooting the puck either.

That's probably the most frustrating part for the players coming away from that loss. Mike Ribeiro missed two open nets and there were no less than six posts hit throughout the evening, which won't show up on the stat sheet.

Regardless of how you look at it, Nashville had a really good outing against St. Louis, but couldn't break through on the scoreboard. A 4-0 loss on paper looks mighty worse than the actual game itself. As long as the Predators play the same way against Ottawa, they should see a much different result.

Ottawa's "Scoring by Committee" approach
In a move that should be very similar to Predators fans, Ottawa has molded itself into a team that's found scoring from all facets of its game.

Currently, five Senators have already reached the double-digit plateau -- being led by winger Mark Stone and center Kyle Turris.

As Turris leads the team in goals (8), Stone leads in points (14), but falls short of the assist lead which goes to All-Star defenseman Erik Karlsson (12).

What's strange is that Karlsson has yet to record a goal this season, with all of his points coming from his team-lead in assists. In fact, his fourteen-game goal-scoring drought to start the year is the longest such drought for Karlsson in his career.

The previous longest goal-scoring drought for Karlsson to start the season? 12 games, which has happened twice for him.

Exposing poor special teams play

Nashville's had a run of bad luck lately on its special teams, but not nearly as rough as the Senators have had it.

Ottawa started the year with a 50 percent power play success rate and a near-86 percent penalty kill rate just to have it plummet down to 13.9 percent on the power play and 75.5 percent on the penalty kill.

Of course, the power play numbers were bound to regress, as 50 percent would be impossible to maintain over the course of a season, however both units have failed to impress over the last handful of games for the Senators.

Their power play has converted only three times in the previous 37 tries while the penalty kill has allowed at least one goal in all but four of their 14 games.

On the flip side, Nashville has one power play marker in its previous 12 tries -- coming in a 4-2 loss against the Anaheim Ducks -- while its penalty kill has allowed two conversions in each of the previous two games.

Something will have to give tonight. I fully expect a power play goal or timely penalty kill for one of these teams will be the key factor in the end result.

Player to Watch

Shea Weber: Weber is one goal away from 150 on his career and, coincidentally, one point away from 400 as well. I'd venture to guess that both benchmarks are cleared this evening.


(Game 12 Prediction: 4-3 Predators OT win. Result? 4-0 Predators loss. Whoops. CURRENT RECORD: 7-1-1.)

The Predators were 4-0 last season when being shutout the game before. They'll be 1-0 this season under the same criteria after tonight's game. 5-1 Nashville wins.