Despite falling in a shootout on Saturday night, there were certainly some signs of life from the Ottawa Senators against their provincial rivals.
The Sens will look to build on a strong Saturday night showing when they play host to Claude Giroux and the Philadelphia Flyers. In every blog post for the last two weeks I’ve called the game a “must win” and tonight is no different as the Flyers are one of the team’s Ottawa has to pass in the Eastern Conference standings. Controlling games and outshooting opponents is one thing but the Senators need to find a way to come away with two points on Monday night.
The Flyers have been playing some decent hockey of late, posting a 6-4-0 record in their last ten games. After a dreadful start to the season that cost Peter Laviolette his job, the Flyers have turned the corner under Craig Berube and played their way back into the mix in the Eastern Conference. The Flyers currently have 28 points and are one point clear of the Senators. After a dreadful start of his own, Claude Giroux has come to life a little bit of late, and now leads the Flyers in scoring with 20 points through 25 games.
For the Senators, the performances have improved lately but the results still haven’t been there. On Saturday they scored twice in the third period to salvage a point but came up short in the shootout. Paul MacLean has decided to make Mike Hoffman a healthy scratch. His ice time was limited on Saturday night so the move should not come as a surprise. Eric Gryba will join him in the press box. Despite being one of the team’s best players recently, Mika Zibanejad will start the game on a line with Matt Kassian and Cory Conacher.
Not exactly the best use of Zibanejad’s abilities but the Senators are in a tough spot with just four centres on the roster. It would be nice to use Zibanejad on Spezza’s wing for a game but that would mean putting Greening as the centre on the fourth line. Here is how the Senators are expected to line up for this one.
Craig Anderson gets the start in the Ottawa goal.