The Senators head south for a two-game swing through Florida, and they kick things off tonight against the Lightning. It's the Valentine's Day Classic! Or at least it could be, if the league wanted to make it so...
Anyway, although Ottawa's still well ahead of Tampa in the standings, they haven't been playing nearly as well as their expansion-year brethren: The Sens are 2-6-2 in their last ten, while the Bolts are 6-2-2 over that span.
We can expect Craig Anderson to start tonight, looking to continue his dominance over the Lightning: He's got a 5-1-2 record and two shutouts in his career against them. At the other end will be Mathieu Garon, who's got a lifetime record of 0-2 against Ottawa.
Up front, Zenon Konopka won't get the opportunity to play against his old team, as there are no lineup changes. That means Matt Carkner will also be scratched again, and the lines should look like this:
Here are some things I would watch for tonight, if I were watching the game:
- Scorching Spezza et al.: Spezza's line with Michalek and Butler is on fire. Will they be able to keep up their offence against the Lightning?
- Paging Kyle Turris: Turris doesn't have a point in five games, and his line has seriously cooled down. Can the Senators get two lines going on the same night?
- Karlsson's Defence: I'd expect Karlsson and Kuba to draw the tough match-up against Steven Stamkos' line; how will Karlsson do in a defensive role? Will it negatively impact his offensive risk-taking?
- Emotional Phillips: The 1,000th game and subsequent ceremony are now behind him, so how will Chris Phillips respond? Will we see Clutch Chris (Dr. Jekyll) or Big Game Chris (Mr. Hyde)?