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Preview, Game Day #30: Los Angeles Kings @ Ottawa Senators

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If you're anything like me, you forgot the Ottawa Senators actually existed until you saw them on the schedule today. That makes this a learning experience for us both.

that puck ain't going in, i don't think
that puck ain't going in, i don't think
Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

Los Angeles Kings @ Ottawa Senators

Time: 4:30 Pacific

TV: Fox Sports West, TSN5, RDS

Enemy Reading: Silver Seven

Los Angeles Kings

Pearson-Kopitar-Gaborik
Lucic-Carter-Toffoli
Mersch-Shore-Brown
Andreoff-Weal-Nolan

McNabb-Doughty
Muzzin-Martinez
Ehrhoff-McBain

Quick
(Enroth)

Scratched: Forbort Injured: Clifford, King, Lewis, Greene

Ottawa Senators

Smith-Turris-Stone
Hoffman-Zibanejad-Ryan
Dziurzynski-Pageau-Chiasson
Borowiecki-Lazar-Neil

Methot-Karlsson
Wiercioch-Ceci
Cowen-Wideman

Anderson
Hammond

Injured: Phillips, MacArthur, Michalek

Stats & Such
(Fancy stats courtesy War on Ice)

Team Kings Senators
Record 19-8-2 15-10-5
Points 40
35
Division Rank 1st 4th
Streak OTL 1
Lost 2
Goals For/Game 2.59 3.07
Goals Against/Game 2.10
3.00
ES Goal % 51.9
50.5
ES Shot %
54.6 45.2
ES PDO 99.4
101.6
ES Corsi % 57.0 46.3
ES Fenwick % 56.1 45.9
ES Scoring Chance % 55.3 46.3
ES High-Danger SC % 53.6
46.0
Power Play % (Rank) 17.6 (20th)
20.9 (7th)
Penalty Kill % (Rank) 84.0 (7th)
78.2 (24th)
Starting Goalie (tonight) Quick Anderson
Goalie Record 16-7-1 13-9-3
Save % .920 .915
ES Save % .930
.925

Notes:

  • Hello again, friends and haters. After getting a brief and well-deserved day off yesterday, the Kings will now enter the Canadian portion of this Eastern conference road trip tonight. We've officially hit the halfway point of the trip, and Los Angeles has picked up 5 out of a possible 6 points so far. Tonight they're in Ottawa, followed up by a Thursday game in Montreal and Saturday night in Toronto (Hockey Night in Canada, except the bad corporate kind not the cool socialist one).
  • We aren't doing another Pacific Snapshot until next week, but uh, let's call this a mini-snapshot out of sheer amazement. Here is a literal picture of the Pacific division standings on December 14th, 2015:

lolpacific

  • Your eyes do not deceive you. The Kings are the only team in the entire Pacific division with a record above .500. Yes, this is really a thing that is happening. They have the second-best record in the entire Western Conference, but no other team in the division can even win more games than they've lost in regulation. Frankly, that's amazing. And before you go calling the Kings a product of their weak division, they actually only have a 4-4-0 record against the Pacific (on the other hand, they have a 5-1-0 record against the much stronger Central). Even with the Kings rather charitably playing their worst hockey against them, the rest of this division can't get their act together to save their lives. Oh, and hey, how about the Ducks just chillin' down there in seventh place? Way to go, preseason Stanley Cup champions!!!
  • Anyway, I guess we should actually talk about tonight's opponents. Here is literally everything I know about the Ottawa Senators: they exist, they are a hockey team, and they play in Canada's capital. I'm not kidding when I say that has basically exhausted my knowledge; there may be no hockey team in the league I know less about, to be quite honest. This isn't said out of any malice for the Sens, but I just never watch them play hockey, nor do I care enough about them to read up on them. They're just....kind of there, you know? If they won the Stanley Cup tomorrow it would stir no positive or negative feelings in me (though I guess it would stir confusion on why the Cup is being awarded in December, granted). I asked Twitter if they had any thoughts on the Sens and the only response I got was "talk about Erik Karlsson's hair and his Tumblr presence", so yeah, those two things are apparently good. Other than that, you got me.
  • However, I can certainly tell you what the Senators' stats are, so let's do that. The Senators have been exhibiting a troubling downward trend for a number of seasons when it comes to their puck possession numbers: in the truncated 2012-13 season, they had an even strength Corsi of 53.7%, which was their highest since 05-06. Since then, they put up numbers of 52.4% in 13-14 and 50.7% in 14-15. This year, that number has completely cratered, as the Senators are all the way down at 46.7%. That's the second-worst even strength Corsi in the league, ahead of only Colorado's 43.4%. So yeah, the Sens are not doing too hot in that whole puck possession thing.
  • But, they do still have a winning record, thanks largely to their fourth-best even strength shooting percentage (8.4%) and strong power play (20.9%, 7th best). Their power play numbers are again driven by shooting percentage, as their 15.3% mark is fifth-best. They're generating just 46.4 shots per 60 minutes of power play time, which is fourth-worst, so who knows how long they can actually keep those PP numbers up.
  • We mentioned Erik Karlsson's hair but let's talk about the man himself for a minute: yes, he's really good at hockey. His Corsi rel is plus 7.86%, suggesting the Senators' possession numbers would be approximately -5000% without him (again, just my approximation there). The problem would appear to be defensemen not named Erik Karlsson: his partner Marc Methot is a +5.47%, then after that you have Patrick Wiercioch doing pretty good at +1.63%, Chris Wideman almost breaking even at -0.11%, and finally some dudes with some really bad numbers. Jared Cowen -5.48%! Mark Borowiecki -6.21%! And your bad defenseman champion, Cody Ceci -7.38%! Yeah. Apparently Jack Johnson is giving lessons on how to be a turnstile now, and half the Sens' blue line took them.
  • (That actually isn't fair to 2015-16 Jack Johnson, whose -1.6% Corsi rel looks positively wonderful next to these guys. He was a +0.1% last year! I'm not kidding when I say this is a massive improvement.)
  • I have very little else to say about this hockey team, so let's go straight into which Mega Man villain are you, Senators??? And the answer for Ottawa is:
    search man
    SEARCH MAN!!! This is because, uh, I couldn't find the Senators without some robotic assistance. Search Man is here to help. Look, this is a really weak one, I dunno what you want from me; there is no Senator Man or Government Man or Socialist Man or Maple Syrup Guzzling Lumberjack Man. Not all of these are going to be perfect! Anyway. Search Man comes to us from 1996's Mega Man 8, just like our previous entry. I realized after the fact that I called Mega Man 8 a PS1 game; that's true, but it was actually a multi-platform release (the first time a Mega Man game came out for multiple platforms, excluding remakes/rerelease collections). It launched on the Sega Saturn just one month after the Playstation version. The Saturn, if you'll recall, was Sega's penultimate game console, back when they actually were a functional game company. It has to be among the most underrated game consoles of all time; for whatever reason, America hated the Saturn and largely avoided buying it, but the system was Sega's biggest hit in Japan (by a mile, actually; the Genesis was extremely popular here but pretty much a laughing stock in Japan, the Master System basically failed everywhere except the UK and Brazil, and the Dreamcast did okay for literally the five seconds it was alive). It had a ton of awesome games released for it, about maybe like 10% of which were actually brought over to the US, because Sega of America was run by incredibly stupid people. But yeah, I digress. Search Man! He has two heads.
  • PREDICTION: If you go look at the prediction thread over on the Sens' blog it's a lot of Sens fans picking the Kings to win in a laugher, saying the Sens are "due to get blown out", so uh. Let's agree with them. 6-1 Kings win!