After losses at the hands of the Hurricanes on Friday, and then Canadiens on Sunday afternoon, the Senators return home to the friendly confines of Scotiabank Place.
Ottawa will play their next four games at SBP and need to start picking up points. Over the next seven days, they’ll play the Sabres, Hurricanes, Jets and then Buffalo again. It’s a crucial stretch for a team that has struggled since learning they’ll be without their number one centre until at least April.
First up, a Buffalo team that has gone 3-5-1 to start their season.
In the Sabres, the Sens face one of the NHL’s best stories in the early going. Forward Thomas Vanek has racked up an incredible 8 goals and 19 points through his team’s first 8 games. Vanek leads the entire league in scoring and is currently on pace for a 112 point season. Not a bad start.
The pairing of Erik Karlsson and Marc Methot will see a ton of that Vanek line tonight.
With the Senators struggling to create offence the last couple games, the organization is looking to the farm for some help. Stephane Da Costa will play his first game of the 2013 season and is expected to see time on the team’s power play. But based on the lines at the morning skate, he looks like he’ll start on the team’s fourth line with Condra and O’Brien.
Here is how the Sens are expected to line up.
Kaspars Daugavins and Mark Borowiecki are expected to be healthy scratches.
Craig Anderson gets another start in the Ottawa goal. With four home games in the next seven days, I think we’ll see Ben Bishop get a look at some point but Anderson is making it extremely difficult for Bishop to get into the net right now.
Puck drop is just after 7:30 PM with the game available on Sportsnet and the radio at Team 1200.
- For those that missed it, on Sunday I provided a bit of an update on the current trade speculation and even mentioned a team that the Sens have had some conversations with. Important to note that while the Sens and Ducks have talked, nothing is imminent. And the other important element from that update, is that in almost all cases, the Sens will try to have equal money going the other way in the deal. Makes things a little trickier for Bryan Murray.
- A quick update from Binghamton as the Senators have signed defenceman Brett Lebda to a PTO. Lebda has 397 games of NHL experience with the Red Wings, Leafs and Blue Jackets. Most recently, Lebda was on a PTO with the Rockford Ice Hogs of the American Hockey League but was released on January 25th.
- Some good news on the injury front this morning as Paul MacLean indicated that Mike Lundin is nearing a return to the line up and could begin practicing with the team in the next couple days.