After a couple disappointing losses at the hands of the New Jersey Devils and the Florida Panthers, the Senators look to right the sinking ship against a quality opponent from the Western Conference.
The Phoenix Coyotes are in the thick of the ultra competitive Western Conference playoff race. With an 18-10-6 record, the Coyotes currently sit three points back of the Minnesota Wild for the final wildcard spot in the West. Phoenix also holds the distinction of being one of two Western Conference teams the Senators have beaten this year- a 4-3 win overtime win back in October. That was one of Spezza’s best games of the season as he scored three times while Cory Conacher added the overtime winner.
Perhaps something positive for the Senators to build on heading into this afternoon’s affair.
As dark as things seem around this team right now, a win over the Coyotes would go a long way towards calming some of the panic in this city. The effort was actually pretty good against the Panthers the other night but with the number of teams involved in the playoff race in the East, good efforts are of little consolation. The NHL roster freeze has come and gone so the guys in that locker room know it’s up to them to get this thing turned around. They’ll play Phoenix and Pittsburgh before the roster free is lifted on December 7th. Bryan Murray will base his post-freeze decisions on what happens in those two games.
MacLean spoke to the media yesterday and indicated that he would make a couple changes to the line up. Eric Gryba draws back in while Joe Corvo comes out after an uninspired performance against the Panthers. Mika Zibanejad is listed as day to day (word is it’s his neck) and will not play. That means Cory Conacher draws back in for the Senators. The way MacLean has shuffled the lines lately we’ll likely have to wait until game time to see exactly what he has in mind against the Coyotes.
Craig Anderson gets the start for the Senators. Puck drop is scheduled for just after 2:00 PM.