Playing in the worst conditions of the season provided one of the best performances for the Ottawa Senators, who will look to complete a perfect three-game homestand when they host the Minnesota Wild on Tuesday. After losing 12 of 13, Ottawa has posted back-to-back victories for the first time since Nov. 10-11.
The Senators had to go outdoors to find their game, thriving in icebox conditions at the NHL100 Classic by blanking the Montreal Canadiens 3-0 on Saturday night, “We knew we needed to have a good game,” said Ottawa captain Erik Karlsson, who more than did his part by playing nearly 33 minutes, blocking eight shots and registering seven shots on goal. Minnesota was on a roll with wins in four straight games and six of seven, but it has dropped two in a row, including a 4-1 setback at Chicago on Sunday in the opener of a four-game road trip. The Wild have scored seven times during their last four games, but they swept the two-game series against Ottawa last season and limited the Senators to one goal in each.
TV: 7 p.m. ET, FSN North (Minnesota), RDS, TSN5 (Ottawa)
ABOUT THE WILD (17-13-3): The only offense in the past two games has been supplied by defenseman Matt Dumba, who has scored all three of Minnesota’s goals. Meanwhile, captain Mikko Koivu remains mired in a lengthy dry spell, failing to register a point in 11 straight games and not scoring a goal in 24. “You go through this during the course of the year, where you squeeze your stick so tight and guys are getting great chances and not getting results,” Wild coach Bruce Boudreau said. “I think they’re getting frustrated.”
ABOUT THE SENATORS (11-13-7): Karlsson missed the season’s first five games while recovering from offseason foot surgery, but he’s looking like the player who led Ottawa to the Eastern Conference finals last season. “People thought that because he is Erik Karlsson, he is Superman,” coach Guy Boucher said. “I’m sorry. It was (known) to me, and our staff, that the real Erik Karlsson wouldn’t come to the surface before Christmas.” Goaltender Craig Anderson has won two in a row following a seven-game slide, but he is 6-8-3 in 18 starts against the Wild.
1. Karlsson had three goals and 16 points in 10 games versus Minnesota.
2. The Wild are 1-for-21 on the power play in the past 10 games but have killed off 19 straight short-handed situations.
3. Ottawa has scored more than three goals once in its last 15 games.
PREDICTION: Senators 3, Wild 2