The Ottawa Senators return to action tonight finding themselves in fifth place in the eastern conference. Should they manage to stay in that position, there is a good chance they will face tonight's opponents in the first round if the Bruins do eventually win the division as expected.
The Senators will make no change to the lineup tonight, so those of you looking for Matt Kassian to bloody someone, will have to wait until Buffalo at the earliest on Saturday. Robin Lehner will start again.
Here are the lines from Nicolas St-Pierre.
Latendresse - Smith - Alfredsson
Greening - Turris - Silfverberg
Condra - O'Brien - Stone
Daugavins - Zibanejad - Neil
Méthot - Gonchar
Phillips - Wiercioch
Gryba - Benoit
Some talking points for tonight:
- Did I mention the Sens are in !@#$ing fifth place? On the downside, the gap to ninth place Winnipeg has narrowed to only three points. The Senators don't play again until Saturday, so a regulation loss tonight could see the standings a lot closer by the time Ottawa plays next.
- The latest Eric Gryba watch: The Senators out-chanced the Bruins 11-8 in 5-on-5 hockey. With Gryba on the ice it was 5-2 for Boston, and with Gryba off the ice it was 9-3 for Ottawa. Benoit, and Methot were even, Phillips was +1, Wiercioch was +2, Gonchar was +6. So, whomever Gryba was paired with, he stunk it up. At least he is off the top pairing I suppose.
- Robin Lehner is making his third consecutive start, fourth in five and fifth in seven games. Is Lehner the starter until Anderson returns? Or is it just a case of Ben Bishop having had a bad game while Lehner hasn't yet?
- Montreal completely destroyed Ottawa in the last meeting but Bishop stole the game for Ottawa in a shootout victory. The Sens can't possibly play worse than the last meeting right?
- Sergei Gonchar has been very good lately, with five assists in his last four games.
- I hope Milan Michalek's setback doesn't last too long.
- After Kyle Turris finally scored a goal, the other player struggling to find offence is Chris Neil. He hasn't scored a goal in his last 16 games and has only two assists and 22 shots in that span. By comparison, Neil had three goals and 27 shots in the first ten games.