On Wednesday night in Colorado, the Ottawa Senators put together one of their best efforts of the season against a talented Avalanche team. And while the end result wasn’t what they were hoping for, there was a whole lot to like about the way Paul MacLean’s team played that hockey game.
They’ll be looking for a similar effort tonight when they pay a visit to Mike Fisher and the Nashville Predators.
It has been a bit of a disappointing season for the Predators to date. Their 19-20-6 record has them sitting nine points back of a playoff spot in the Western Conference. Not an insurmountable deficit but pretty darn close. Losing Pekka Rinne to an injury early in the season was obviously a killer for this team. And while Rinne is working to get back in the line up, the damage is done at this point. Carter Hutton and Marek Mazanec have done an admirable job guarding the net in his absence but they obviously aren’t at Rinne’s level. The Preds have never been a team that’s going to overwhelm you with offence so it’s tough win giving up three goals a night.
Meanwhile in Ottawa, things continue to trend the right way for the Senators. They have picked up at least a point in five straight and find themselves in the thick of the Eastern Conference playoff race. With a win tonight the Senators would pass the free falling Leafs and could pull even with Daniel Alfredsson’s Red Wings. New York, Carolina, New Jersey and Columbus are all in the mix too. The Senators have done a nice job of playing themselves back into the playoff picture but certainly can’t afford to let their guard down. It sure looks like the Eastern Conference will come down to the wire this season. Every point counts.
MacLean will make one change to his defence in this one, as Eric Gryba comes out of the line up in favour of Joe Corvo. The Senators will also shuffle the forward combinations a little bit so that Pageau can be reinserted into the line up. Here’s how MacLean lined them up at the morning skate.
Craig Anderson makes another start in the Ottawa goal. Puck drop in Nashville is schedule for just after 7:00 PM with the game available on CBC’s Hockey Night in Canada.
The Daily Chirp- As discussed in the last post, it is expected that General Manager Bryan Murray will sign an extension that will keep him on as GM for two more seasons and then see him move on to a VP type role. Murray has done a great job with this team since initiating the “rebuild” and deserves to stick around. Murray and Melnyk have been working on this extension for the past few weeks. The last couple seasons have been a little frustrating for Murray as he has at times been handcuffed by the team’s internal budget. I can’t say for certain but I wouldn’t be surprised if a little spending flexibility was discussed at some point during the negotiations. You know Bryan Murray would love to go out on top and the only way to do that is if the team spends some money over the next two years.