The Need to Knows
The Time: 7:00 pm PT / 10:00 pm ET
The Place: Climate Pledge Arena, Seattle, WA
Where to Watch: ROOT Northwest, ESPN+
Place to Listen: KJR 93.3fm
Know Your Enemy
The Ottawa Senators have been a sneaky fun team this season and are fighting tooth and nail for a playoff spot, currently sitting five points out of the wildcard in the Eastern Conference.
Ottawa had won five straight before a 5-0 stinker in Chicago, but otherwise they’ve been coming on as of late. Their top line of Tim Stützle, Claude Giroux, and Brady Tkachuk is really dynamic and all three are bonafide stars and are super fun to watch. Captain Tkachuk is also a little unhinged, but in a way that his teammates like — like last game when he tried to fight Chicago’s goalie.
A frustrated Brady Tkachuk wants a piece of the Blackhawks goalie. pic.twitter.com/guSVPBfNjS— Sportsnet (@Sportsnet) March 7, 2023
The Senators also recently traded for Coyotes defenseman Jacob Chychrun, who is a monster on both ends of the ice. He’s got a reputation for being an offense-only guy, but he’s also very good defensively. And what a shot.
Wrote about Jakob Chychrun @EPRinkside— Dimitri Filipovic (@DimFilipovic) March 2, 2023
Big fan of his game. He's a beast defensively. Pretty much everyone should've been in on him and he's a great get for the Senatorshttps://t.co/oFggVARKBI pic.twitter.com/Nire2haYco
Ottawa goalie Cam Talbot is going to miss three weeks with a “mid-body injury,” so the Senators will be scrambling and will be starting one of their backups.
The Senators do have very good special teams with the 5th best penalty kill and the 6th best power play. It stands to reason that the power play will get even better with Chychrun. However, he was inactive for a bunch of games before the trade deadline as injury prevention and he’s had a history of injuries as is, so the Senators are being cautious with his ice time. It is unclear how much time he will get and in what role.
The Kraken have won five in a row and are firmly in control of their own destiny with a 97.3% chance of making the playoffs, per Moneypuck.
One potential question is the health of Vince Dunn. On Tuesday against Anaheim, Dunn took a hit to the head that was not called, said some choice words to the officials about the missed call, then got an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty. Then while he was serving the penalty, the concussion spotter pulled Vince from the game and he was evaluated.
But it sounds like he will be okay and will play.
The Senators have been playing better as of late and are probably a better team than their record shows, especially after adding Chychrun. The Kraken’s penalty kill has been much better as of late: 12th in the NHL since they changed their penalty kill structure on January 1st. But Ottawa’s power play is very strong. Seattle really doesn’t want to tempt fate against this team by committing dumb penalties.
Ottawa is a fun, young team fighting for the franchise’s first playoff appearance since 2017. This is the kind of opponent where Seattle could fall behind quickly if they come out flat.
But hopefully the crowd will make sure no flattitude occurs. Climate Pledge was absolutely rocking on Tuesday and it felt like a level-up moment for the Seattle crowd with the cascade of boos and chants at the officials after the Dunn fiasco. It’s so exciting feeling that energy in the stands this year.
May the ghost of Turbo haunt the visitor's locker room on Brandon Tanev bobblehead night.