On paper, Wednesday’s matchup between the Ottawa Senators and the Pittsburgh Penguins isn’t the sexiest of the week, but the talent on both teams will result in an excellent game to watch.
Pittsburgh’s offensive talent is well documented—led by stars Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin—but it’s the surprisingly good defensive depth in Ottawa and the stellar play of the goaltenders that have kept the Senators in contention in the Eastern Conference.
The meeting of the Penguins' great offense and the Senators' great defense is intriguing to all NHL fans, and Wednesday’s meeting will prove which team’s best players are superior.
Where: CONSOL Energy Center, Pittsburgh
When: Wednesday, Feb. 13, at 7 p.m. ET
Watch: TSN (Canada), RDS (Ottawa), ROOT (Pittsburgh)
Live Stream: NHL GameCenter
Key Injuries (via USA Today)
Guillaume Latendresse, LW, Questionable
Peter Regin, C, Out
Jason Spezza, C, Out indefinitely
Jared Cowen, D, Out for season
Matt Niskanen. D, Expected back in mid-February
Kris Letang, D, IR
Penguins Player to Watch: Paul Martin, D
The injury to No. 1 defender Kris Letang has forced veteran Paul Martin to expand his role with the team and step up in both the defensive end of the rink and in the offensive zone.
Letang runs the point on the power play, so in his absence it is Martin getting the extra ice time at even strength and during the man advantage. The veteran defender has three points in his last five games.
For the Penguins to continue the success the team had so far this season, Martin and his defensive comrades must continue to step up at both ends of the ice to make up for the lack of depth Letang's injury has caused.
Senators Player to Watch: Kyle Turris, C
The biggest flaw with the Ottawa Senators this season has been their sheer lack of depth at the forward positions. Add in the injury to star center Jason Spezza—a herniated disk that has the former All Star out indefinitely—and someone must step up.
The person that has stepped up most so far is young center Kyle Turris.
Turris is now the center on the top line in Ottawa, and he has responded well at both ends of the rink.
Not only has the 23-year-old star been stellar on the forecheck, the three assists Turris has in four games prove he is starting to find his rhythm as the team’s top-line distributor.
Prediction: Pittsburgh 4, Ottawa 2
While both of these teams are very well matched, the major difference on Wednesday and during the lockout-shortened season will be Ottawa’s lack of offensive production.
The Senators are ranked 20th in the NHL with just 2.6 goals scored per game, and injuries to key players will only continue to hurt those numbers.
Pittsburgh will steal the win at home.