After a stretch of four straight on the road, where they managed to grab five of a possible eight points, the Ottawa Senators return home with a chance to move into a playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.
A win over Tampa Bay combined with a Washington win over Columbus, would mean the Sens jump up into the second wild card spot. A whole lot can and will change over the next two and a half months but it would obviously be a significant milestone for a team that has scratched and clawed their way back into contention.
But as we learned last week, it certainly won’t be easy against one of the top teams in the Eastern Conference in the Tampa Bay Lightning.
The Bolts were riding a three game winning streak before falling 3-2 at the hands of the Leafs on Tuesday night. Former Senators Ben Bishop has been the driving force behind this Tampa Bay team all season and his play has talk of both Vezina and even Hart Trophy nominations. He’ll be playing his first game in Ottawa since the deadline deal that sent him to Tampa in exchange for forward Cory Conacher and a fourth round pick (Tobias Lindberg).
Chris Phillips will sit out a second straight game on the Ottawa blueline. He continues to be bothered by a minor injury of some kind. No changes to the forwards combinations either. Here is how Paul MacLean has them lined up at the morning skate.
Craig Anderson gets the start for the Senators. Ben Bishop is the goaltender of choice for the Tampa Bay Lightning. Puck drop is scheduled for just after 7:30 PM.
The Daily Chirp- It feels like only a matter of time before Senators GM Bryan Murray ships out one of the eight defenceman currently on the roster. With Fredrik Claesson pushing for a call up and Mark Borowiecki on a one way deal in 2014/2015, the team will need to make some space. They tried to move Joe Corvo earlier this season but there wasn’t a whole lot of interest. Eric Gryba, Patrick Wiercioch and Chris Phillips are all trade candidates although in the case of Phillips, I think the preference is to sign him to an extension. Both Gryba and Wiercioch have looked decent when given the opportunity to play.