With impressive wins over the Boston Bruins and the Washington Capitals in their back pocket and the “back to back win” monkey finally off their back, the Ottawa Senators look for their third straight win tonight against the Winnipeg Jets.
The Jets have been one of the unfortunate casualties of the league’s realignment. While the travel schedule has been a little more forgiving for the Jets, the benefits stop there. The Western Conference is stacked this season which means a far more difficult schedule than they would have faced here in the Eastern Conference. Despite being a game over .500 (19-18-5), the Jets are six points back of the final playoff spot in the West and have played three more games than the team they’re chasing. All that said, Winnipeg has won three straight including a shutout win over the Sabres on New Year’s Eve.
Meanwhile for the Senators, the script is starting to look a little familiar. With key players out of the line up, the Senators have found a bit of a spark and finally managed to win back to back games with Spezza and Phillips out of the line up. While Phillips is now ready to return, Chris Neil joins the walking wounded and will be out of the line up tonight. With the team’s “leadership group” ravaged by injuries, other players have done a nice job stepping up. The Senators will be looking for more of the same tonight.
Interested to see how Senators forward Bobby Ryan responds after being left off of the US Olympic team. It’s a downright bizarre decision by the Americans and obviously has to sting for Ryan. You know he’ll be eager to show the Team USA Brass they made a big mistake. With that said, as a Canadian and a fan of the Ottawa Senators, I fully endorse the stupidity of the American selection committee. The rest will do Bobby good during the Olympic break.
Couple changes to the line up that beat Washington on Monday night including call up Mark Stone making his season debut for the Senators. He practiced on the right side with Colin Greening and Zack Smith but I suspect that’s a trio MacLean could tinker with during the game. Erik Condra looked great on that line against the Capitals. As mentioned above, Phillips is ready to return to the Ottawa blueline which means Patrick Wiercioch returns to the pressbox.
Here’s how the Senators are expected to line up for this one.
Craig Anderson gets the start for the Senators while the Jets will counter with Al Montoya.
The Daily Chirp- Funny how a couple wins can quiet the rumour mill. Bryan Murray spoke with Shawn McKenzie during the Washington game and seemed to suggest that the team’s need for a move isn’t quite as desperate as it felt after the painful loss in New Jersey. The Senators will still keep an eye on the Michael Del Zotto situation in New York but the situation isn’t quite as dire as it seemed a couple weeks back.