After picking up 3 of 4 points in their two game road trip through the state of Florida, the Ottawa Senators return home to play five straight within the friendly confines of the Canadian Tire Centre.
While this season has been a disappointing one in the Nation’s Capital, it would be nice to finish up the 2013/2014 year with some quality performances on home ice. And they’ll have to be at their absolute best tonight when the defending Stanley Cup champs roll into town.
The Chicago Blackhawks are having another excellent season. Led by their Captain Jonathan Toews, the Hawks have posted an impressive 42-17-15 record and currently sit in fourth in the Western Conference with 99 points. They are coming off a disappointing 3-0 loss in Boston last night and should be a motivated group. They have a chance to clinch a playoff spot with a win tonight in Ottawa.
Plenty of stars on this Hawks team including defenceman Duncan Keith, considered by some to be a favourite for the Norris Trophy this season. He has 12 less points than Sens star Erik Karlsson but that plus minus that people seem to care so much about gives him a clear edge, I guess. Up front, the Hawks are loaded with talent including in Jonathan Toews , Patrick Sharp, Patrick Kane and ex-Senator Marian Hossa. And they have Peter Regin!
Ottawa has struggled with defensive zone coverage for most of the season. The Senators will have their hands full with this high-flying Chicago team.
Just an optional skate for the Senators this morning so we’ll have to wait until game time to find out the combinations. Chris Phillips will miss a second straight game on the blue line which means Patrick Wiercioch stays in the line up. Bobby Ryan is done for the year so Mark Stone can settle in on that right wing with MacArthur and Turris. Mika Zibanejad is a game time decision
Here’s how the Senators are expected to line up
Craig Anderson returns to the goal for Ottawa. Puck drop is scheduled for just after 7:30 PM.