The end is almost here. Three more games. Each game is also against an opponent that is already either eliminated or locked into their current seed so this could be a rather tame ending to the season.
Mike Hoffman and Colin Greening will return to the lineup with Jean-Gabriel Pageau and Matt Kassian the healthy scratches. Robin Lehner will start. Here are the lines:
Greening - Smith - Neil
MacArthur - Turris - Stone
Michalek - Spezza - Hemsky
Hoffman - Zibanejad - Condra
Methot - Karlsson
Phillips - Ceci
Wiercioch - Gryba
Some notes for tonight:
- Paul MacLean confirmed that Cody Ceci, Mark Stone and Jean-Gabriel Pageau will play in the AHL playoffs. Mike Hoffman wasn't mentioned, presumably because he would have to clear waivers.
- MacLean said that he has received no assurances from the club that he will be back next year.
- Jason Spezza was asked if he would like to remain a Senator and his response was that it is too early to discuss such things. With Saturday filled with Leafs fans, tonight could be the last chance to show Spezza some appreciation if he is indeed leaving.
- Robin Lehner said that it took him some time to adjust to being a backup as he had thought he could have become the #1 goaltender. Those long stretches of being sat by MacLean in the winter had to be tough.
- I have a lot of confidence in Kyle Turris and Mika Zibanejad outscoring who they play against next season on lines one and two. Add the return in a potential Spezza trade, and I don't think the club would be too hard hit for next season and especially long term.
- Jaromir Jagr and Martin Brodeur both would like to play next year. One of Brodeur's kids has mentioned wanting to play in Ottawa. Dear God no. Jagr on the other hand would be a fantastic addition and we know Bryan Murray is a fan. If Hemsky can't be re-signed, hopefully the team can make a play for Jagr.
- These next two games could be the last chance to see a lot of players. Marc Methot, Clarke MacArthur and Craig Anderson are unrestricted free agents next season along with Hemsky this season. Players like Patrick Wiercioch could also be out the door in a trade.
- Hemsky had three points but saw less even strength time than Chris Neil by over two minutes against the Islanders. Hemsky by the way now has more points as a Senator this season than Neil.