The Ottawa Senators have finally returned to Scotiabank Place
Aside from a brief stop in town last Sunday, the Sens have been on the road for the better part of a month. Tonight they begin a crucial stretch of home games against Steven Stamkos and the Tampa Bay Lightning.
It has been well documented but the month of December will go a long way towards deciding the Sens fortunes this year. They play 9 of the next 13 on home ice and will welcome a number of tough opponents.
That starts tonight with the Bolts in town.
Tampa has struggled at times this year and are out to a disappointing 11-12-2 start which includes three straight losses coming into this one. With that said, Tampa is still a team with a ton of firepower that will provide a tough test for Craig Anderson and the Sens. Tonight’s game features two of the league’s leading goal scores in Steven Stamkos and Milan Michalek, who have each scored 16 times this season.
The fact that Stamkos is there should come as no surprise but the blistering start by Milan Michalek has certainly turned some heads. The biggest difference for Michalek has been his health. He is finally playing at 100% and seems to be skating better than he ever has. Michalek has been a key cog in the Sens surprising offence so far this season.
Despite the overtime loss in Washington on Saturday night, Paul MacLean will go with the same combinations.
That means that Nikita Filatov will once again be the odd man out. This has been talked about to no end but I really don’t understand MacLean’s reluctance to play the kid. Saw some good signs from him since being called up and it will do nothing for his confidence to have him watching from the press box. Have to wonder how much longer he sticks around.
Here is how the Sens are expected to line up.
Puck drop is scheduled for just after 7:30 PM tonight and there are still plenty of tickets so contact Mike McCarthy at firstname.lastname@example.org if you are looking to buy some. A reminder that the Sens will be collecting toys for Toy Mountain before tonight’s game so if you can, bring a toy with you to help the cause.
The game is available on Sportsnet and RDS.
In just three days, it will be time to begin the "Hunt 4 Chirp" contest. Be sure to follow @SensChirp and @Wisers_Ottawa on Twitter for clues. We'll be giving away two pairs of tickets in the 100 Level Wisers Box for the January game against the Jets.
Did I mention the food and adult-beverages are free in there?