Coming off an unlikely but much-needed win over the Hurricanes, the Ottawa Senators face another uphill battle tonight as they host the red-hot Colorado Avalanche.
The Avalanche were cup favourite heading into this season. Although they got off to a slow start that put some of those preseason predictions in doubt, they finally look like the team we all expected, having won 8 of their last 10. They also have Nathan MacKinnon back now, so there’s that.
The last game between these two teams was a high-scoring affair that the Avalanche won 7-5. You may remember it as the Sens’ first game back after their COVID outbreak, and one that the Sens were a little bit closer to winning than the score might suggest.
Here are the lines from the morning skate:
Game day morning lines:— TSN 1200 (@TSN1200) December 4, 2021
Tkachuk Norris Batherson
Paul Stützle CBrown
Formenton Tierney Ennis
Sanford Gambrell Watson
Forsberg-in starters end
Some big changes on defense, but the forward squad stays the same, with Stützle back at centre.
- This morning, the Sens announced that they have re-called defenseman Dillon Heatherington from Belleville. He’ll draw into the lineup in place of Victor Mete, who is apparently a healthy scratch. This is interesting because it’s the first time we’ve seen a callup that’s not necessitated by injuries. It’s a sign that the team is aware that their prospects have outplayed the established players on defense, and might signal the end of Mete’s time in Ottawa. With Brännström set to return in January it’ll definitely be interesting to see what happens on the left side.
- Could we see something similar happen on the right side when Josh Brown returns and they have to make a decision about Lassi Thomson? This quote is certainly very promising:/
Smith - Its just a matter of time that Lassi Thomson is a full time NHLer. He's a really pleasant surprise. He will get a little more ice tonight and we are really happy with him. We'll see if he is ready to stay here.— TSN 1200 (@TSN1200) December 4, 2021
- On that note, is this the best defensive lineup the Sens have iced this season? Zaitsev with Chabot drags it down, but replace Zaitsev with JBD and I’m actually happy with the squad they have.
- One last comment on the defense: Heatherington and Thomson played together in Belleville, so they already have chemistry. It’s a sign of how much DJ Smith trusts these two - or perhaps how little he trusts the rest of the team - that he’s willing to put them on a pairing together instead of putting each one with a more established player.
- Forsberg is back in net after a phenomenal game against Carolina. We’ll see if he can shut down one of the best offensive teams in the league. If he can find his game and Gustavsson can keep up his good play, that could be good news for the team.
- Colorado may be one of the best offensive teams in the league, but they do tend to give up a lot of goals. Not nearly as many as Ottawa does, but still a lot. This could be a high-scoring affair.
- December 4th is an important day in Sens history! 7 years ago today, Daniel Alfredsson signed a one-day contract and retired as an Ottawa Senator. So, good vibes going into this one.
- Puck drop is at 7pm EST. You can watch on Sportsnet One, or listen on TSN 1200./
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