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01-30-2013, 08:28 PM
Finlandia WOAT
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Join Date: May 2010
Location: Raleigh NC
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The Story Thus Far... (Sens at Carolina)

After heroically fighting back with two consecutive goals before the 2nd period ended (with all 4 of the Big 4 on offense registering a point), the 'Canes back was broken late in the third as David Krejci scored his first of the year, with the assist to Jay Harrison.

Now, after 3 days of practice, line tweaking and confidence building, the 'Canes will be raring to take on the Senators this Friday. I have group tickets, and will be in Section 337 with many uninitiated Hockey fans (thank you 3-for-1 deal to get around climbing ticket prices).

The Sens, surprsingly, have an excellent hockey team. They boast top-5 GA average (and Craig 'Cane Killer' Anderson will be in net, so expect that number to skyrocket several statistical units past number 2 after Friday), a top ten PP, PK and Goals Against. Like Boston, Ottawa is the top of the League.

Unlike Boston, the Sens play a style that is more friendly than the Black and Gold, so the 'Canes may willingly allow Ottawa to set the tempo, and try to pounce on their mistakes with effective forechecking, a tactic that worked better than expected against Boston. To be clear, better than expected means below average rather than not at all.
Players to Watch
Jeff Skinner

Jeff Skinner is red hot right now, with 5 goals in 5 games. He seems to have developed excellent chemistry with J. Staal, making great use of the space that his big, supple body allocates on the ice.

However, since Skinner is tied to J. Staal, that means that they will be sent out against either the red hot Turris line, or the dangerous Spezza line. Skinner will need to step it up defensively while maintaining his dangerous offensive skillset. I don't know if he can, but if he does he will be the first impact winger the 'Canes have had in a long time.

Players to Watch

Kyle Turris

After holding out on the Coyotes the beginning of last season, Turris was traded to the Sens for the guy that was traded for Tarasenko. Thanks to algebra, that means that the Sens traded Turris for Tarasenko.

Turris is on a bit of a hot streak, with 4 goals in the last 6 games and a shooting percentage of near 30%. Our defense can't stop through-the-slot passes, so expect him to score 4 goals in this game.

Players to Watch
Craig Anderson

As already noted, Craig Anderson is notorious for being a mediocre goaltender unless he is playing the 'Canes, in which case he is Patrick ****ing Roy. Fortunately, 6 games into the season Craig Anderson is already Patrick ****ing Roy, with a sterling .98 GAA and a .967 sv%. When the 'Canes get shutout, it won't look nearly as bad, as Anderson has already shut down vaunted offensive juggernauts like the Caps Panthers Jets.

As you can see, the Sens are good team. Not that great- they have beaten the Panthers twice, the Caps and the Jets and lost to the Lightning and Pens- but they boast several offensive weapons up front with Turris, Spezza and Michalek (and Silfverberg looks good too). Their defense, outside of Erik Karlsson, is subpar (Sergei Gonchar and Marc Methot have 23 minutes of ice time per game this year), but their goaltender is red hot and bailing them out.

That's no excuse for the 'Canes. If we want to make the playoffs, we need to beat good teams. And right now is good as any. A win will give confidence in the team, in Muller and in the fanbase. It will put us a 3-3, which, given the rough start and the ability of the Bruins, is fairly respectable. We need this win.

Game Keys:

Last time, all of one person decided to actual respond to this section of my Pre Game Talk, so I'll keep it short and sweet this time.

Matchups: Matchups are going to be a problem for the 'Canes. On defense, we have one pair that we can send out with the expectation of defensive competence. The Sens have two deadly lines, and we have 1 pair (and make that none if Faulk is scratched).

Since our defense, sans Faulk, can not be expected to to stop the offensive wizardry that is the Senators, our forwards are going to have to step it up. E. Staal and Semin are surprisingly fine at ES. The J. Staal-Skinner combination, not so much.

The way I see it, we will send out E. Staal-Semin against the Spezza line (with Michalek and Alfredsson), so that the pair can take advantage of the lack of speed that the new PIZZA line has. That leaves J. Staal-Skinner to handle Silvferberg-Turris-Latrendresse.

Looking at those Ottawa lines reminds one of a very exploitable defensively top 6. I don't think any one of those players (outside of the Sens homers who will respond to this post in anger trying to pimp Spezza) has ever been attached to the term "Defensively responsible". That second line, especially if they are playing with Sergei Gonchar and Marc Methot.

We'll be able to score against their lineup (just not Craig Anderson). The question is if our forwards can contain them (because we all know our defense can't do it).

Basically, expect our Big 4 to have a monster game in this offensive slug fest. Goals will be traded. Refs will be booed. Skinner will slewfoot someone, and we will have a ten part stickied megathread complaining about how Skinner ruined his career. I will be there, trying to explain icing and why Chad LaRose is comparable to Tyler Lewis.

Let's Go 'Canes!!!

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