With the Eastern Conference playoff race getting tighter by the day, the Ottawa Senators need to continue their impressive play of late and keep pace with the rest of the pack.
Tonight’s task is a tough one though as they take on Ben Bishop, Martin St. Louis and the rest of the high flying Tampa Bay Lightning. The Bolts currently sit second in the Atlantic Division, with 63 points through the first 50 games of the season and trail the division leading Bruins by just two points. When Steven Stamkos went down with an injury, everyone expected this team to begin their slide out of the playoff picture but that just hasn’t happened.
Marty St. Louis has stepped up in a big way and seems to be using his Olympic snub as extra motivation the last couple weeks. He was named the league’s first star on Monday, after racking up five goals and eight points, including an impressive four goal effort against the Sharks on Saturday. Safe to say finding a way to contain St. Louis will be a huge part of Ottawa’s game plan tonight.
There was plenty of talk about the “miscommunication” between Marc Methot and Head Coach Paul MacLean and after listening to the Coach speak about it after practice yesterday, I was quick to declare it a non-issue. Clearly there may be more going on here than either player or coach are prepared to admit as Marc Methot will miss a second straight game as a healthy scratch.
No changes expected to the forward combinations. Here’s how Paul MacLean lined his guys up at the morning skate.
Craig Anderson gets the start in the Ottawa goal while Vezina candidate Ben Bishop starts for Tampa Bay. Puck drop is scheduled for just after 7:30 PM.
If you’re looking for a way to pass some time until puck drop, check out the first episode of NHL Revealed. Lots of good Senators content in this episode, beginning at around the 34 minute mark. We learn that Karlsson is an ambidextrous cowboy, Turris likes a ten ounce steak and Paul MacLean wants the work boots buckled up tight. Worth a watch.
The Daily Chirp- Plenty of talk about the Senators being interested in Sabres forward Matt Moulson the past couple days. Black Aces wrote a good piece on the subject here. Clearly adding a guy like Moulson makes some sense but it certainly won’t be easy with so many teams expected to be in the running. One source on the Moulson to Ottawa rumours- “Not likely”.