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Silver Nuggets: MacLean comments on Da Costa struggles

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Stéphane Da Costa has been struggling for a while now and not just in the face-off circle. Paul MacLean says he typically plays Jason Spezza against the opposition's top line, and would like to play Da Costa against the second line. However, Da Costa didn't match up well against Vancouver, so Zack Smith's line played against the second line.

Against Pittsburgh, it is an even bigger problem, with their second line featuring Evgeni Malkin and the NHL's second leading goal scorer, James Neal. For this reason, Da Costa will likely face Jordan Staal's line. MacLean spoke at length but the quote that stood out to me was:

"It's going to be a test to see what we're going to do with Steph. We're going to try and make sure we put him in a spot to succeed, but it's going to be a tough night, for all of us." - Paul MacLean

Is MacLean hinting that the Senators are considering sending Da Costa down to Binghamton or just on how to manage his minutes? Peter Regin is still about a month away, so the other alternative to Da Costa would be to move Foligno to centre. That or moving Jesse Winchester up to the second line, but I don't know if he can hold down the spot for a month.

Links after the jump.

General Sens News

  • Game preview for tonight. (Ottawa SunSenators Extra)
  • Everyone on the panel predicts a loss tonight and most of them predict a Pittsburgh blowout. James Gordon went with 6-0 Pittsburgh and Peter said 5-1 Pittsburgh. (Senators Extra)
  • Nikita Filatov had another strong game last night, tallying a goal and two assists for his second consecutive 3-point game. Filatov now has 12 points in 13 AHL games and leads Binghamton in points per game. With a decision expected on him next week, he is certainly helping his chances. (Press & Sun-BulletinSenators Extra)
  • Colin Greening has had a good start to the season, but he doesn't expect his name to be in Calder Trophy contention. Ryan Nugent-Hopkins is over a point a game so far. Still, Greening is sixth in rookie scoring so far. (Ottawa Citizen)
  • Robin Lehner will return from a minor injury and start tonight in Syracuse. (Joy Lindsay)
  • Syracuse is Columbus' AHL affiliate and tonight will be Filatov's first game there since he left. (syracuse.com)
  • Sergei Gonchar was having Thanksgiving dinner presumably at Evgeni Malkin's. Eating with the enemy the night before a great battle! (Evgeni Malkin)
  • CBC ranks Jared Cowen, Erik Karlsson and Milan Michalek as the Senators three stars so far, with Bobby Butler as the disappointment. (CBC)