Ahead of their season opener, the city of Ottawa is buzzing with excitement. Earlier this morning, Anthony LeBlanc was on the radio talking up not only the sell out crowd for this evening’s affair with the Boston Bruins but also humbly bragging that season ticket sales are up 70% relative to 2019 (pre-pandemic) numbers.
What’s most important tonight, however, is what happens on the ice. The arena will be packed, the fans will be buzzing, but the Senators will need a strong start against the 3-0-0 Bruins in order to avoid dropping three straight to kick off this highly anticipated season.
From morning skate, it looks like DJ Smith will be going back to the group that fell to Buffalo 4-1 to kick off the season, with Nick Holden back on the third pair alongside Erik Brännström.
morning skate lines:— TSN 1200 (@TSN1200) October 18, 2022
Tkachuk Stützle Batherson
DeBrincat Norris Giroux
Motte Pinto Joseph
Kelly Kastelic Watson
Brassard Gambrell xxxx
Tonight is also a #SensMotB game, so make sure you hop in and make your pledges!
- As of now, I haven’t seen confirmation of this but we can expect to see Anton Forsberg between the pipes tonight. While he doesn’t yet have a win to his name this season, he’s been arguably one of Ottawa’s most stable players through two games, posting a fantastic 0.924 SV%.
- Like everyone else, we’ll be keeping a close eye on the top six. The highly touted group filled with firepower has been held to just 1.5 goals per game so far. Alex DeBrincat will be eager to finally secure his first regular season goal as a Senator, as he had a number of chances against Toronto on Saturday night.
- Speaking of the top six, Shaan pointed out on Twitter that the top six is running quite the low shooting percentage right now, compiling just two goals on 31 shots (6.4%). I think I speak for everyone when I say I’d love for that dam to burst open tonight.
- DJ Smith mentioned that he liked what he saw from Thomas Chabot and Erik Brännström in a small sample on Saturday but has kept Chabot with Artem Zub at morning skate. If the game isn’t going well, I wouldn’t be surprised to see Chabot and Brännström together in the middle of this one while Smith tries to sort out his lines.
- Nick Holden was interestingly labelled as the mainstay on the third pair early in training camp and he found himself as a healthy scratch in favour of Nikita Zaitsev in Toronto on Saturday. Look for him to have a bounce back game - which for a player like Holden basically means he’ll do his best not to be noticed at all.
- The third line of Shane Pinto, Tyler Motte and Mathieu Joseph has had quite the fall from grace early on. During preseason, they were Ottawa’s best line in almost every game. Now that the real thing is here, however, they’ve posted an abysmal 25.71 CF% together through just over 17 minutes of 5v5 ice time.