Well, this is sadly fitting. Right after the team sent Duchene and Dzingel to Columbus — who were in town on Friday — the team consistently linked to Mark Stone, and their management group, will be in Ottawa today to take on the Senators in the midst of a fire sale.
The Sens have not scored since they pulled the UFAs out of games, and will be hoping to do so tonight against a Flames team whose one weakness appears to be inconsistent goaltending from Mike Smith or David Rittich.
Here’s how the Sens are expected to lineup tonight in their first game without Ryan Dzingel. Christian Wolanin enters the fray after being swapped for Maxime Lajoie yesterday; he’ll take his regular spot alongside Cody Ceci. In net, Craig Anderson is expected to start; he was in net for the team’s loss to Duchene’s Blue Jackets on Friday:
Balcers - Tierney - Batherson
Smith - Pageau - Paajarvi
Boedker - Brown - Ryan
Chabot - DeMelo
Wolanin - Ceci
Harpur - Jaros
The Flames sit at the top of the Western Conference, with 83 points and on a four-game win streak. Here’s how we’re expecting them to lineup:
Frolik - Backlund - Lindholm
Bennett - Jankowski - Czarnik
Mangiapane - Ryan - Hathaway
Giordano - Andersson
Hanifin - Hamonic
Prout - Brodie
Extras: Stone (inj.), Neal (inj.), Kylington (inj.)
- Anthony Duclair is expected to arrive this afternoon, but will likely not be in the lineup after playing the last two days with the Blue Jackets.
- Keith Tkachuk has reportedly made Brady and Matthew promise not to fight tonight, as the two brothers play against each other for the first time in their career. Matthew put up 13G, 35A for 48P in 76GP in his rookie season (2016-17), while Brady’s currently at 13G, 17A for 30P in 50GP so far this year.
- When Guy Boucher was hired, Pierre Dorion talked about how good of a communicator Boucher was, and how they, as “two French guys” had many long conversations. We’ve heard some discontent from Boucher for a while now, especially recently in regards to sitting the UFAs. He mentioned in his press conference this morning that swapping Wolanin for Lajoie was an “organizational decision” and that he knows nothing about the newly acquired Duclair.
- I’ve had my problems with Boucher for a while, and his latest decision to split up Logan Brown and Drake Batherson is one of those. The two played the least among all Sens forwards, leading to speculation that they’d been called up for “PR reasons” to quell the fanbase. Misusing them is only going to lead to more rage, especially with Belleville streaking for a playoff spot
- If Stone is traded to the Flames, keep your eye out on Andrew Mangiapane (4LW) and Rasmus Andersson (1RD) — two of the Flames top prospects that could be included in return. Getting defencemen back will be paramount, as the Sens are weak there currently. Juuso Valimaki, currently playing in Stockton (AHL), and the injured Oliver Kylington are two other prospects you should know. At forward, the Flames have a pair of smaller players in Dillon Dube and Matthew Phillips, in addition to bigger wingers like Adam Ruzicka and D’Artagnan Joly.
- Lastly, the Sens are hosting the largest Citizenship Ceremony in Canadian sports history tonight as part of their “Hockey is for Everyone” programming. It’s odd that they waited this long to promote this, and makes me wonder about marketing priorities as per usual, but it’s a nice gesture worth shouting out nonetheless. /