The Ottawa Senators head deep into the heart of Texas when they take on the Dallas Stars. I have to admit, back in the 1990s I quite used to like the Stars and specifically Mike Modano and Dave Gagner (who remembers him?). That aside, while the fan support in Dallas has eroded over the years, the Stars are still having a surprisingly well season with 29 points. They are currently 7th in the West and only four points behind first.
For the Senators, Filip Kuba is out tonight with an upper body injury, replacing him will be Brian Lee. With no room for him right now, Matt Carkner has been sent to Binghamton for a conditioning assignment. Chris Phillips has been rewarded after a strong game, being moved to the top pairing with Erik Karlsson. Here are the lines from Sylvain St-Laurent:
Colin Greening - Jason Spezza - Nikita Filatov
Milan Michalek - Nick Foligno - Daniel Alfredsson
Kaspars Daugavins - Zack Smith - Erik Condra
Zenon Konopka - Jesse Winchester - Bobby Butler
Chris Phillips - Erik Karlsson
Jared Cowen - Sergei Gonchar
David Rundblad - Brian Lee
Craig Anderson (starter)
2) Michalek-Foligno-Alfredsson, Cowen-Rundblad.
Talking points and statistics after the jump.
Here are my talking points for tonight:
- Taking up Kuba's minute: Filip Kuba played big minutes. Someone is going to have to step up and play his minutes, especially on the penalty kill. Who will it be?
- Karlsson/Phillips pairing: These two played together for about six weeks last season and it was absolutely horrendous. It also happened to coincide with the team playing awful. Hopefully these two can have some sort of chemistry until Kuba returns.
- Cowen on the power play: Jared Cowen hasn't shown too much in the way of offensive skill so far, but he does have a good shot and has two goals on the season. He's going to get some power play minutes on the point with David Rundblad. It should be a good test for his developing into a more complete player.
- Filatov returns: He missed most of the last game after being hit in the face with a skate, but Nikita Filatov will return tonight on the top line and the first power play unit. He's certainly getting his chance right now, will he start to produce?