Blackhawks News

Three Ottawa Senators to Watch

By Sean Fitzgerald

Oct 27, 2013; Ottawa, Ontario, CAN; Ottawa Senators goalie Craig Anderson (41) makes a save on a shot from San Jose Sharks centre Logan Couture (not pictured) in the third period at the Canadian Tire Centre. The Sharks defeated the Senators 5-2. Mandatory Credit: Marc DesRosiers-USA TODAY Sports

The Chicago Blackhawks will welcome the Ottawa Senators to the United Center on Tuesday night.  Last season the Senators went to the Eastern Conference Semifinals, but fell to the Pittsburgh Penguins in 5 games.  This past offseason their franchise player Daniel Alfredsson decided he didn’t want to be a part of a younger Senators team. Alfredsson left to chase the Stanley Cup and joined the Detroit Red Wings.

The Senators comes to the United Center with a record of 4-5-2. Here are three players to watch for the Ottawa Senators:

1. Craig Anderson Goalie:  The Illinois native comes back to the United Center to face his former team.  In his three seasons (2002-03 to 2005-06) with the Blackhawks, Anderson appeared in only 56 games. That being said Anderson is not the same player he was with the Blackhawks. Anderson last season was 12-9 in 24 games with a remarkable 1.69 goals against and save percentage of 94.1%. This season Anderson has been a mere mortal thus far posting a 4-3 record with a 2.81 goals against and a 92.0% save percentage.  Another interesting little note, Anderson is the running for the backup goalie spot on Team USA. Tuesday night could be a night showcase for Anderson.

2. Jason Spezza Center: Jason Spezza was the 2nd overall pick in the 2001 draft for the Senators. Spezza is a key element to the Senators offensive attack. Last season the Senators made the playoffs despite only 5 games from Spezza. Spezza had to have surgery last year to repair a herniated disk in his back.  Spezza’s last healthy season, he was good for 34 goals and 50 assists. He currently leads the Senators with 7 goals and 4 assists. He is a forward to fear on the Senators.

3. Mika Zibanejad C:  Mika Zibanejad was the 6th overall pick in the 2011 draft. This 20 years old is entering his third season in the NHL. In 2011-12, Zibanejad played in only 9 games. Last season he played in all 42 regular season contests putting up 7 goals and 12 assists. On the season, Zibanejad was a +9.  Despite his production last season with the Senators, Zibanejad was place in the AHL to start the season. With the Binghamton Senators, he has two goals and five assists in seven games. Zibanejad was recalled on October 22nd. The Senators expect big things from their young center.

Honorable mention: Erik Karlsson defenseman: Karlsson who lacerated 70 percent of his Achilles tendon last season. After suffering that injury he remarkably came back to play in the playoffs last season. Karlsson played in 10 playoff games tallying 1 goal 7 assists in 26:44 minutes of ice time. Karlsson is one tough man. Everyone praised Patrice Bergeron for playing with all his injuries last Stanley Cup, but it was a medical miracle Karlson even made it back last season. Karlsson had six goals and eight assists in 17 games last season. In this season Karlsson has three goals and seven assists in 11 games this season.

Those are three players to watch on Tuesday night when the Blackhawks play the Ottawa Senators. If you agree or disagree with my players please leave your thoughts in the comment section below.