Despite playing well in most of the games, the Ottawa Senators have yet to beat the Pittsburgh Penguins this season, losing all four games. It isn't quite a must-win, but it sure would be nice to change that tonight and return to Fortress Scotia at 1-1 rather than down 0-2.
The Senators will make two changes with André Benoît replacing Eric Gryba while Guillaume Latendresse steps in for Lord Protector Matt Kassian. Milan Michalek did not skate today but he is expected to play. Here are the lines and pairings from Sylvain St-Laurent from yesterday.
Conacher - Turris - Alfredsson
Michalek - Zibanejad - Silfverberg
Greening - Pageau - Condra
Latendresse - Smith - Neil
Méthot - Karlsson
Cowen - Gonchar
Phillips - Benoît
Here are some notes for tonight:
- Jason Spezza seems like he might be ready to return for game three. Even Paul MacLean seems a bit more optimistic than he usually is with regards to returning players. Will this have an impact on tonight? Not that players should need any additional motivation in the playoffs, but to have the chance to go home 1-1 with Spezza returning? That should have everyone pretty excited by the opportunity.
- Everyone except Guillaume Latendresse that is. He is playing his first game since game one against the Habs. It is hard to imagine if there is any sort of performance he can put on tonight that will allow him to keep his place on Spezza's return.
- Happy to see Jared Cowen return with Sergei Gonchar. This is a pretty strong top four and even Phillips - Benoît isn't that bad for a bottom pairing, especially when compared with Pittsburgh. Cowen had a brutal first period but improved once separated from Eric Gryba in the second period.
- Sidney Crosby played only 12:52 of even strength hockey in game one. Initially he was playing against Méthot-Karlsson but then Dan Bylsma started to get him out against Chris Phillips. Overall, it wasn't a very dominating game for player 87.
- Crosby has had a negative Corsi in every game against Ottawa this season.
- Ottawa had 18 offensive zone face-offs on 5-on-5 and 13 in the defensive zone. Despite the advantage, Kyle Turris was 6-4 on the defensive zone side.
- The Senators are going to give up goals - that is hard to prevent against this Pittsburgh team. But they should be able to score given the state of Pittsburgh's defence and goaltending. The power play needs one of those three goal nights.
Sadly there are no NHL 96 screen caps. I love with you today's pump up song.