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Behind Enemy Lines: Sens set to host Canes for second time this season

It’s probably the shortest flight in the NHL: the Canes head west on a 20-minute trip from Montreal.

NHL: Carolina Hurricanes at Ottawa Senators Marc DesRosiers-USA TODAY Sports

The Carolina Hurricanes (8-7-4) head north to take on the Ottawa Senators (12-7-1) for the second time this month inside Canadian Tire Centre. On November 1st, the Sens defeated the Canes 2-1 in overtime but both teams come in to this matchup slightly different. The Senators enter this match up having won two in a row (after being beat up in their two games prior to that) while the Hurricanes have won five of six.

Ottawa enters Saturday third in the Atlantic division, three points ahead of the Boston Bruins. The Sens are also the only team in the Eastern Conference to currently sit in a playoff position with a negative goal differential at minus-3.

The Senators, much like the Hurricanes, have suffered serious scoring woes so far this season. Only twice in the month of November have the Sens scored more than twice in a game. They currently ranked 28th in the NHL in goals for, five spots behind the Hurricanes. Unsurprisingly, the Sens are nowhere near the league leaders: they are led in points by Erik Karlsson with just 16 points, while both Kyle Turris and Mark Stone have 12 points apiece.

The power play is a giant struggle for the Senators currently as they are ranked 29th in the league on the PP. This is somewhat offset by the fact they have the 9th best penalty kill, however the Sens cannot expect to be a playoff team with a dreadful power play that only converts 10.2% of the time.

Reports came out yesterday that the Senators are getting ever closer to playing in a new home. Canadian Tire Centre opened in 1996 and the team has called the building home ever since. Since late 2015 it has been known the team was looking to get a new deal in place for a downtown arena. More information regarding the potential new arena can be found here.

What To Watch For:

  • Bobby Ryan drew back in to the lineup for the Sens in their last game against Boston and helped lead the team to a victory. Ryan missed multiple games with a finger injury and the Sens need him to help energize their offense.
  • The emotional roller coaster for Craig Anderson continues. After announcing a few weeks back that his wife has been diagnosed with cancer, many were not sure how the veteran goaltender would respond. So far he has been nothing but solid and the go to guy in Ottawa. The Andersons released a statement last week asking for privacy and detailing some new information regarding Nicholle’s diagnosis. Craig is expected to start versus the Canes.
  • The special teama battle may determine the outcome of this matchup. With the Hurricanes having the number one PK and the Sens PP ranked 29th, if either of those units breaks its current form it could very easily determine the outcome of the game.
  • Ottawa is riding a small hot streak while Carolina just had their streak snapped. This is a critical game for both teams and look for the intensity to reflect this during the game.