After a few days off, the Ottawa Senators are ready to put their four game winning streak on the line against one of the most surprising teams from the NHL’s Western Conference.
And it looks like they’ll have a face back in the line up in time for the game.
Jason Spezza has been skating with the team for the past few practices and is ready to make his return. The Senators were 4-0-0 in his absence so it looks like MacLean wants to be careful not to disrupt the chemistry of his forward lines more than he has to. Spezza skated on a line with Colin Greening and Mark Stone at yesterday’s practice and is expected to start there against the Avalanche.
That allows MacLean to keep his top two lines (MacArthur-Turris-Ryan and Conacher-Zibanejad-Michalek) in place for tonight’s game. Depending on how MacLean distributes ice time, the Senators really could roll four lines against the Avs tonight.
In the Avalanche, the Senators are facing a team that continues to surprise people through the first half of the season. Under first year Head Coach Patrick Roy, the young Avs team has posted an incredible 26-12-4 record which has them sitting 6th in the Western Conference. Their offence is led by three Olympians in Matt Duchene (Canada), Gabriel Landeskog (Sweden) and Paul Stastny (USA) and they’ve been getting terrific goaltending from Russian Olympian Semyon Varlamov.
Looking at their line up it was clear the talent was there but I’m not sure anyone expected them to put things together this quickly.
(UPDATE 1:37 PM)- The Senators are on the ice for the morning skate in Colorado. Here is how MacLean has them lined up.
The Daily Chirp- Last night TSN’s Bob McKenzie confirmed what has been speculated for the past couple days- Tim Murray is set to become the next General Manager of the Buffalo Sabres. All that’s left is the contract negotiation. It’s always tough to lose talent to a division rival but the people have spoken to have emphasized that Tim wasn’t the slam dunk next GM in Ottawa that some made him out to be. He has done great work with the organization but it’s important not to discount the impact both Pierre Dorion and Randy Lee have had both in terms of drafting as well as player development.