After sloppy performances in San Jose and Anaheim over the weekend, the Ottawa Senators look to end their road trip on a positive note in Phoenix on Tuesday night.
It won’t be easy though as the Sens will be facing a Coyotes team that has reeled off three straight victories including a 5-3 win in Carolina on Sunday. They are a well-coached team under Dave Tippett and will certainly give a sputtering Ottawa team all they can handle in this one.
I’m not sure what the record is for earliest use of the term “must win” but tonight’s game must be pretty close. No it’s not a must win for the team but for a fan base that has been on edge after back to back losses over the weekend, a win would go a long way to calming the nerves a little bit.
This six game road trip has been gruelling for the Senators but if they can close it out with a win and a 2-2-2 record, things won’t look quite as bad as they head home for games against the Devils and the Oilers.
The Senators will take their game day skate around 2:30 PM today so we’ll know more details on the line up at that time. After an ugly outing on Sunday, I would expect MacLean makes a couple changes.
(UPDATE 3:21 PM)- Here are the line combinations from the game day skate in Phoenix. Kassian and Gryba are in. Corvo and Da Costa have the night off.
Craig Anderson will get the start for Ottawa.
Puck drop is scheduled for just after 10:00 PM with the game available on Sportsnet East and on the radio at TSN 1200.
- -A key piece in the Bobby Ryan deal has suffered a significant setback with Anaheim’s AHL team. Stefan Noesen tore both the ACL and MCL in his knee over the weekend and is expected to miss the rest of this season. A severe knee injury that early in a player’s career is always devastating but here’s hoping he has as quick a recovery as possible and can get back on track next season.
- -An article from Senators Extra includes some interesting comments from Sens GM Bryan Murray about his level of patience and the possibility of changes. While trades are always an option, I would suspect the team would try out some of their own guys before making a deal. With Zibanejad, O’Brien, Hoffman, Borowiecki and Ceci waiting in the wings, a call up/demotion is the most likely option if the Sens continue to slide.
- -Keep a close eye on how Head Coach Paul MacLean uses Jean Gabriel Pageau during tonight’s game. Pageau played a team low 3:02 on Sunday night and is really going to have to earn his ice time tonight. If he struggles again, the #FreeMika campaign could have its way before the home opener on Thursday.