After consecutive wins over the Columbus Blue Jackets and the Montreal Canadiens, the Ottawa Senators continue a five game home stand against the struggling Florida Panthers.
Despite all their early struggles and the handwringing in the Nation’s Capital, the Senators have clawed their way back to .500 with their last couple wins and are right in the thick of things in the Eastern Conference. And some more good news- the Sens have actually posted a 5-0-2 record against the East so far this year and will play 15 of their next 17 against the Eastern Conference.
Good chance for the Sens to get on a bit of a run starting with this afternoon’s opponent, the Florida Panthers.
Things are not so great in Florida right now. General Manager Dale Tallon is furious with the way his team has performed and yesterday, fired Head Coach Kevin Dineen and the rest of his staff. Tallon suggested that it will now fall on the players and if they can’t get this thing turned around in the near future, there will be some players heading out the door next. If they want to send Erik Gudbranson out, the Senators would definitely be interested.
Certainly tense times in Florida right now so it will be interesting to see what sort of effort they respond with in Ottawa this afternoon.
This should have marked the return of Jesse Winchester to Ottawa but he’ll miss the game after being handed a three game suspension yesterday afternoon. He caught another former-Senator with an ugly elbow on Thursday night and will sit out the next three games. It’s too bad Winchester will miss his Ottawa return but it’s a bit of a bonus for the Sens as Winchester has actually been one of Florida’s better players of late.
After yesterday’s practice, MacLean suggested he’ll likely have a similar line up to the one that was successful in Columbus and Montreal. That means Wiercioch and Corvo are the scratches and Erik Condra misses another game with an injury. No morning skate today so we’ll either have to wait for Paul MacLean to speak to the media or see how they line up at puck drop.
(UPDATE 11:37 AM)- One change to the Ottawa line up. Patrick Wiercioch is in. Eric Gryba is out.
We do know that Robin Lehner gets his third straight start in the Ottawa goal with Craig Anderson dressed as his back up. Nathan Lawson was returned to Binghamton yesterday afternoon. Puck drop is set for just after 2:00 PM and there are an absurd number of tickets remaining if you are interested in catching this afternoon’s tilt.
The Daily Chirp- At the 2013 Entry Draft, the Senators apparently did a lot of asking around to determine the level of interest in Milan Michalek. One team they spoke with- the New York Islanders. Michalek is currently the highest paid player on the Sens’ roster and is still a piece they would consider moving. He’s a free agent at the end of the season and it’s not really clear if he’s in the long term plans of the organization.