The Ottawa Senators will try to return to .500 for the first time this season when they host the Florida Panthers. After losing three straight games, the Senators will be looking for their fourth straight win tonight. Mika Zibanejad is no longer with the team, and will be replaced by the returning Daniel Alfredsson. Stéphane Da Costa will also be bumped up to the second line. The defensive pairings are the same again.
Here are the lines courtesy of James Gordon.
Colin Greening - Jason Spezza - Milan Michalek
Nick Foligno - Stéphane Da Costa - Daniel Alfredsson
Kaspars Daugavins - Zack Smith - Chris Neil
Erik Condra - Zenon Konopka - Jesse Winchester
Filip Kuba - Erik Karlsson
Sergei Gonchar - Jared Cowen
Chris Phillips - David Rundblad
Craig Anderson (starter)
Stats and talking points after the jump.
Here are my talking points:
- Da Costa's chance: After toiling away on the fourth line for a bit, Stéphane Da Costa will get the chance to play top six minutes tonight. Hopefully he can run with it, because there are no other decent options. He definitely has the skills.
- Rundblad's improvement: Magic Number Seven now hasn't been on the ice for a goal against for five straight games. That's pretty impressive for a rookie who has played only seven games. He hasn't gone up against the top lines, but I get the sense he's being protected less and less recently. Among defencemen, he's actually been out for a higher percentage of defensive zone face-offs this season than Erik Karlsson and Jared Cowen. In addition, the Senators have lost the defensive zone face-off almost 70% of the time Rundblad has been out there.
- Sergei Gonchar: Sergei Gonchar not only has four points in his last two games, but he has been out for a higher percentage of defensive zone face-offs than any other Senators defenceman this season. He's also the only defenceman who finishes in the offensive zone more times than he started.
- Alfie returns: The captain returns! Hopefully we don't need him to steal the puck late in the game again.
Here are the 2011-2012 comparative statistics for the Senators and the Panthers: