The first 35 games of the season has been anything but predictable for the Ottawa Senators.
Each time it looks like this team has turned a corner, they come out the next night looking flat and uninspired. They haven’t won back to back games in over a month and there have been times where it felt like the sky was falling in the Nation’s Capital. Yet heading into tonight’s action, the Senators sit just three points out of a playoff spot in the Eastern Conference with both the Leafs and the Red Wings in HBO free falls. The door is open. It’s time for the Sens to step on through.
The Senators had another one of those “corner turning” games on Monday against a powerful St. Louis Blues team. They put together their best 60 (65) minute effort of the season against one of the top teams in the entire National Hockey League. The challenge for Paul MacLean’s group is to repeat that sort of effort against the New Jersey Devils.
The Devils are one of a growing “chase pack” in the Eastern Conference. With Both the Leafs and Wings struggling, there are now as many as six teams within six points of the final wild card spot in the Conference. I have overused the term “must-win” in the first few months of this season but it sure would be nice to beat the Devils in regulation tonight and then repeat that tomorrow at home against an improved Panthers team. The teams in front of them have given the Senators a fighting chance and now it’s time for Ottawa to capitalize by stringing a few wins together.
I hate how often I’ve been able to use this video lately but here’s a look at Paul MacLean addressing his team before tonight’s game.
Marc Methot has missed the last few games with the flu and will be sidelined for a fourth straight game. He declared himself ready to play before the game against St. Louis but it looks like MacLean is hesitant to change a winning line up. Eric Gryba and Matt Kassian are the other healthy scratches. Here is how the Senators are expected to line up for this one.
Robin Lehner gets the start for the Senators. The Devils will counter with Martin Brodeur. Puck drop is scheduled for just after 7:30 PM with the game available on TSN.
The Daily Chirp- During the Senators early season struggles, the team was looking at any and all options to address the slide. One team they spoke with at length with was the Edmonton Oilers. The Oilers apparently had a pretty serious interest in forward Colin Greening but the two sides could not agree on a deal. Mentioned the name before but I believe the guy the Senators looked at what Ales Hemsky. It seems as though the Sens have since decided that Mika Zibanejad fills the void in the top six quite nicely. Colin Greening has been better lately as well.