Spying on the Saboteur: Philadelphia Flyers at Ottawa Senators

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A couple of days removed from playing the best team in the NHL closely, losing in a shootout, the Philadelphia Flyers are traveling to take on the Ottawa Senators. One observation of note is that the “TLC Line” of Travis Konecny, Oskar Lindblom, and Sean Couturier was contained by the Washington Capitals on Wednesday. Another observation was that Joel Farabee had a tough outing against the Capitals. Alain Vigneault reflected on Farabee after Wednesday, saying:

“Joel was fighting it a little bit tonight. That’s a pretty big team and a pretty good team with a lot of experience. Sometimes in games, you got to make some decisions, he’ll be right back at it next game.”

Alain Vigneault on Joel Farabee; 11/13/19

Farabee and company are “right back at it” again tonight, aiming to win in regulation in Ottawa.

Seven is the lucky number tonight, which also matches the number of games in the Philadelphia Flyers point streak into tonight’s game. Now is not the time to sleep on the Ottawa Senators, who have won three of their last four games. This is the first time that the Flyers will be headed to Ottawa this season. Last season, Philadelphia won two of the three meetings against the Senators. For the Flyers, this marks the first game in a back to back set to finish this week, prefacing the New York Islanders tomorrow.

One could debate that starting Carter Hart is the right decision tonight against the Ottawa Senators, making a case for Brian Elliott to give Hart rest. Nevertheless, the goaltender matchup is shaping to be the Philadelphia Flyers’ Hart against the Senators’ Anders Nilsson. Over the last ten games, the Flyers have gotten the better of Ottawa, 6-2-2. The Senators have three players listed on the injury report: Artem Anisimov, Logan Brown, and Scott Sabourin. Philadelphia also lists three players on the injury report: Nolan Patrick, Samuel Morin, and Scott Laughton.

Ottawa Senators – Skaters

Jean-Gabriel Pageau is the leading scorer of the Ottawa Senators. The 27-year-old center has accumulated 15 points this season in 18 games played. Of those points, most have come during even-strength hockey, none have come on the powerplay, but two goals are shorthanded. Again, if the Philadelphia Flyers decided to sleep on the Senators, Pageau will make them pay. He is converting 24.4% of the shots he takes on goal this season.

Mark Borowiecki is the most physical defenseman that the Philadelphia Flyers have come across all season. His numbers speak for him, tallying 60 hits and blocking 31 shots. The Ottawa Senators also benefit when he is on the ice with team defense, as Borowiecki has a +/- of eight. He’s also contributed seven points this year on offense. Each one of his offensive points has come during even-strength hockey.

Ottawa Senators – Goaltending

As previously stated, Anders Nilsson will be the starting goaltender tonight for the Ottawa Senators. He’s started nine games this season, as did his back up, Craig Anderson. In comparison, the Philadelphia Flyers are truly getting the best goaltender that the Senators have to offer. Nilsson has more quality starts than Anderson. The save percentage Nilsson has maintained is 92.1% while yielding a 2.98 goal against average.

Faceoff Possession

The slight advantage in the faceoff circle goes to the Philadelphia Flyers. The Flyers as a team maintain a 54.2% winning percentage at the dot. The Ottawa Senators are above 50% at 51.2%. Seven players on the Senators are above 50% in faceoffs this season: Drake Batherson, Bobby Ryan, Nick Paul, Chris Tierney, Tyler Ennis, JC Beaudin, and Anthony Duclair. Five players on Philadelphia are above 50% in faceoffs this season: Andy Andreoff, Sean Couturier, Claude Giroux, James van Riemsdyk, and Michael Raffl.

Prediction

Tonight, I predict that the Philadelphia Flyers win in Ottawa during regulation play. My expression of my love of overtime hockey is all over my Twitter feed, but the love of two points to an opponent gaining zero points is even stronger. The Flyers win tonight, 4-1, with a contribution from Joel Farabee. Puck drop is scheduled for 7:30 pm from the Canadian Tire Centre in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. The money line favors Philadelphia at -135 with an over-under set at 6.5.

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Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

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