The Ottawa Senators road trip from Hell continues in New Jersey tonight to face, rather appropriately, the Devils. Ottawa played just last night and ended their five-game losing streak, while the Devils last played on Wednesday night when they lost to Boston. For the Sens, the statistic Adnan pointed out last night holds true: Ottawa has been in a tie game with less than 10 minutes left in every game on this road trip.
The Senators didn't practice this morning, so here's my guess of what the lines might look like given the return of Milan Michalek (more on that below) based on the assumption that Matt Kassian comes out:
And here are the Devils line combos from practice today, courtesy of Syl St.-Laurent:
Some storylines for the game:
- Milan Michalek is expected to make his return to the Senators' lineup after missing 15 games rehabbing after knee surgery. It's tough to expect too much from him after so much time off, but he's one of the team's best forwards and was playing very well before surgery (he was on a three-game point streak). What will he do tonight?
- Both games between these two teams this season went to a shootout, and Ottawa won both. I wouldn't be surprised if this one takes a skills competition, too.
- The Devils are 2-4-4 in their last ten games, which is the biggest reason why they're currently outside the playoff picture. While Ottawa just ended a five-game losing streak last night, they're still 4-6-0 in the last ten... which, it turns out, means both teams have the same number of points in the last ten games. So I guess they're both slumping.
- Craig Anderson has lost both starts since returning from an ankle injury, and he's got an ugly .878 save percentage and a sort of disappointing 2.55 goals-against average over that span. Can he get back on track with a good performance against the Devils?
- Anton Volchenkov is serving the first game of his four-game suspension, received for elbowing Brad Marchand in the head on Wednesday night.
That's it for now. Go Sens go!