clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Game #77 Preview: Ottawa Senators vs Winnipeg Jets

New, comments
Marc DesRosiers-USA TODAY Sports

Your Winnipeg Jets take on an Ottawa Senators squad also playing out the string, though tonight could have significant draft implications for the Jets especially.

10 points out of the second Wild Card spot with just six games remaining, the Senators are on the precipice of mathematical elimination. In fact, the team is already living on borrowed time:

Far from making a late-season push, Ottawa limps into this contest 1-3-1 over their last five games and 4-6-3 in the month of March. Being visitors tonight doesn't bode well for Ottawa either, as the Senators are 14-20-3 on the road (versus a significantly superior 20-13-6 at home).

The Winnipeg Jets haven't been much better, with a March record of 5-7-3. However, recent stretches of 3-7-0 and 1-8-1 from Columbus and Vancouver respectively have pushed Winnipeg up to 26th in the standings. Edmonton is a depressingly safe bet to finish 30th, but the 25th-29th slots continue to be in flux. The Jets' remaining six games will have a tremendous impact on their final placement and resulting lottery odds.

Ottawa and Winnipeg last met on November 5th, with the Jets falling 3-2 in a shootout despite a 40-31 edge in shots. Michael Hutchinson was in net for that game, coming away with a .935 Sv%, while Andrew Ladd and Dustin Byfuglien were Winnipeg's goalscorers.

Catch the game tonight, 6:30 PM Central Time on Sportsnet, TVAS and TSN1290.

It's a Numbers Game

Ottawa Senators

Winnipeg Jets

Record

34-33-9

31-38-7

Division-Conference-League

5th - 12th - 21st

7th - 12th - 26th

Last 10 - Streak

3-5-2 - OT1

4-4-2 - OT1

Goals For / Game

2.78 (9th)

2.53 (23rd)

Goals Against / Game

3.00 (28th)

2.89 (25th)

Shots For / Game

28.4 (26th)

29.7 (17th)

Shots Against / Game

32.9 (30th)

29.8 (16th)

5v5 Corsi For %

47.6% (24th)

51.8% (10th)

Power Play %

15.7% (28th)

14.3% (30th)

Penalty Kill %

75.4% (29th)

78.7% (26th)

PIM / Game

10:51 (24th)

11:30 (26th)

Despite being eight points behind Ottawa on the league-wide standings, the more desireable numbers largely belong to Winnipeg. While the Senators have a pretty good Goals For per Game, this is not a team which manages very many shots on the opposing net. When narrowed to 5v5, Ottawa's 24th ranked Shots For per 60 comes in at 27.6, just shy of two full shots behind Winnipeg. If there's a silver lining, the Senators numbers do improve to 19th when looking at Corsi For per 60.

But mediocre turns into abysmal when shifting focus to the Senators' defensive numbers. Ottawa is the NHL's worst team when it comes to 5v5 Shots Against per 60. Worse than Vancouver, Arizona and yes, even the Colorado Avalanche.

12th ranked Winnipeg allows 28.3 Shots Against per 60 at 5v5. By contrast, Ottawa sees an incredible 32.2 5v5 SA60, a nearly four shot difference. As before, changing the measure to Corsi For per 60 does improve Ottawa's ranking, moving them all the way to 29th (ahead of Patrick Roy's Avs).

These bottom of the barrel defensive numbers are not the cost of a high-octane, high event offence. Rather, the Ottawa Senators are just sort of terrible.

Additionally, tonight's game constitutes a clash between inept and flaccid special teams on both sides. It will be interesting to see which bottom-five unit can out-bad the other.

Strange Bedfellows

Andrew Hammond

Michael Hutchinson

Record

5-9-4

8-14-3

Overall Sv%

.912%

.905%

Ev Sv%

.935%

.905%

PP Sv%

.779%

.905%

Ottawa backup Andrew Hammond represents an odd case study. Among the 55 goalies who have at least 20 Games Played, his overall save percentage of .912% ranks a perfectly middling 39th. However, this Sv% masks rather disparate numbers.

When looking at Even Strength, Hammond's Sv% jumps all the way to .935%. That moves him to 6th among the same 55 goaltenders, in an Ev Sv% tie with Chicago's Corey Crawford. What brings Hammond's overall save percentage down is a .779 PP Sv% which ranks dead last among this crop of regularly used netminders.

Winnipeg's starter tonight in Michael Hutchinson makes for a fun contrast. His numbers in the above chart are not a typo; according to NHL.com, Hutch has a .905% in all situations, at even strength and when the team's shorthanded. That PP Sv% is an impressive 9th among those aforementioned 55 goalies, which is good, but his Ev Sv% comes in 54th, which is bad.

It's simplistic, but considering the names atop the Ev Sv% list versus those excelling at PP Sv%, I'm generally inclined to put more stock in the former.

(Word of warning: when the NHL and by extension yours truly use the term "PP Sv%", it refers to a goalie's Sv% when his team is shorthanded. Thus, Burtch's use of "PK Sv%" when referring to the same thing).

Erik Karlsson vs the World

Erik Karlsson

Dustin Byfuglien

GP - Goals-Assists-Points

76 - 14-62-76

75 - 17-28-45

Power Play Points

24

16

Shooting %

6.1%

7.4%

TOI / Game

29:07

25:00

PP TOI / Game

04:48

03:19

SH TOI / Game

01:15

02:02

5v5 Corsi For RelTM%

+7.3%

+4.4

5v5 Penalty Differential

-7

-21

Erik Karlsson leads the league in both ATOI and assists, while currently fourth in the overall scoring race behind only Patrick Kane, Jamie Benn and Sidney Crosby. In terms of fancy stats, only one defenceman challenges Karlsson for the amount of 5v5 CF% RelTM difference he makes on the ice: Drew Doughty Hampus Lindholm (I know, right?).

Regardless of how you believe this season's Norris Trophy race should turn out, Karlsson is an exceptional defenceman, one the Winnipeg Jets will have to be mindful of all game. With eight points in eight games, he's also coming in hot.

On the other hand, after an incredible stretch lasting from late January to early March, Dustin Byfuglien finally seems to have cooled. The engine of Winnipeg's d-corps has just one point in his last seven games, and was a possession negative player in three of those instances (Chicago, L.A. and Buffalo). Sitting at 17 goals and 45 points, it's uncertain as to whether or not Big Buff will manage to crack the 50 point threshold this season.

With that said, Winnipeg's d-corps as a whole doesn't exactly scream "point production machine" at the moment. As per Daily Faceoff:

Winnipeg d-corps game 77

A Tale of Two Centres

Mika Zibanejad

Mark Scheifele

GP - Goals-Assists-Points

75 - 18-29-47

65 - 25-27-52

Power Play Points

10

8

Shooting %

11.5%

14.1%

TOI / Game

17:41

18:16

PP TOI / Game

02:35

02:34

SH TOI / Game

01:23

00:18

5v5 Corsi For RelTM%

+0.6%

+2.8%

5v5 Penalty Differential

+7

+8

The 2011 NHL Entry Draft storyline most often brought up around these parts is that of 7th overall Mark Scheifele versus 8th overall Sean Couturier. For tonight however, a different spin can be put on the ol' Scheifele debate: that of how he stacks up against 2011's 6th overall selection, Mika Zibanejad.

In a situation similar to Scheifele, Zibanejad has been thrust into a more prominent role thanks to injury, specifically one to Kyle Turris. His appointment to the 1C position hasn't been nearly as clear cut however, as Zibanejad remains in a nightly dogfight for minutes with Jean-Gabriel Pageau.

Both Scheifele and Zibanejad are coming in hot. With seven points in seven games, it's been a positive stretch of matches for the 22-year-old Swede, while Scheifele has emphatically ended a three game drought with six points in his last four.

In 221 career regular season games, Mark Scheifele has 54 goals and 136 points. Compare this to Mika Zibanejad, who has 61 goals and 147 points in 275 regular season games. Despite Zibanejad having played 54 more games, Scheifele is catching up and fast.

Bonus Tweets

No, newly signed NCAA UFA Brandon Tanev isn't going to play tonight.

Here's a fun idea: perhaps a certain Winnipeg Jets centreman put in a good word and helped grease the Brandon Tanev wheels:

According to Nostradamus

Ottawa sees goals from both Erik Karlsson and Zack Smith, but are possession dominated throughout the whole game. Down 2-0 heading into the third, the Winnipeg Jets storm back with four straight goals, the last being an empty netter. Mark Stuart has an assist to boot, because why not.

Jets win 4-2. I continue to push Clayton Keller as a desirable option anywhere between 4th and 10th overall:

Stats, facts and automobiles provided by NHL.com, Natural Stat Trick, WAR On Ice, Hockey Analysis, Hockey Reference and The Hockey News. Thanks for reading!