After a few days of on ice sessions and overanalyzing line rushes in practice, fans of Your Ottawa Senators got a chance to see their team play a game, live on TV, yesterday afternoon and what a fun game it was.
Despite (hilarious) complaints from some Leafs fans, the Sens iced their top line and Tim Stützle, Brady Tkachuk and Claude Giroux did not disappoint. Stützle scored twice, while Tkachuk had a goal and an assist and Giroux trailed the trio with just one assist.
The other player who easily stood out from the crowd was Jake Sanderson, who added a pair of primary assists of his own while logging a ton of minutes as part of Ottawa's top pair for the matinee.
For those competing for spots, there were some players who showed up for game one looking hungry and ready to stake their claim on a roster spot in the bottom six. Egor Sokolov showed how much of an impact his stay in Ottawa over the offseason had on his game. He looked faster, and physical, and drew praise from Stützle in a post-game interview hit.
His linemate, and brand new Senator, Jiri Smejkal also looked strong in his North American preseason debut. A number of other likes Josh Bailey, Mark Kastelic and Tyler Kleven looked sharp, as well.
It'll be interesting to watch the battle for the bottom six play out this camp. It was only one preseason game, but two players who are likely higher up on DJ Smith's depth chart for that fourth line role in Parker Kelly and newly signed Zack MacEwen left much to be desired. Again, it was just one preseason game so we'll see how things play out. That being said, if the level of play remains the same, I wouldn't personally select either for a fourth line role over players like Sokolov, Bailey or Smejkal.
Game Hub: Ottawa Senators @ Toronto Maple Leafs, 7pm EST
Tonight, two new lineups will take on the battle of Ontario with the Senators heading to Scotiabank Arena for the second half of a back-to-back. One roster decision we've known about tonight's game for a few days now is who will feature between the pipes. Following a season which unexpectedly thrust him into an NHL role, Mads Søgaard will be getting his first taste of preseason action tonight. Newly signed Senators Joonas Korpisalo's debut will have to wait until the Sens visit Montreal Wednesday evening.
As expected, tonight's roster is effectively the opposite of yesterday.
Here's how the other guys are expected to line up:
- The only player making a repeat appearance will by Roby Järventie, who was centring what appeared to be the fourth line yesterday. Today, he'll slide into a line in the top six, with regular NHLers Dominik Kubalik and Mathieu Joseph on his wings.
- Along with Kubalik, fans will get a chance to see Vladimir Tarasenko in a Sens jersey for the first time this evening, as he skates alongside Ridly Greig and Drake Batherson on what could be a very interesting line.
- Something Smith has been vocally against in the past, it'll be interesting to watch how two left shot defenders in Jakob Chychrun and Thomas Chabot fare tonight, with the latter spending time on the right side earlier in training camp.
- While they're all fighting for a spot in Ottawa, the third line of Angus Crookshank, Zack Ostapchuk and Cole Reinhardt could very well be a top line in Belleville early this season.
- The fourth line of Boko Imama, Garrett Pilon and Josh Currie is a trio of AHL veterans, all looking to get their names on the call-up list for the upcoming season. While Imama and Pilon are a little more familiar, having stayed in North America over the past few seasons, Currie most recently played in the KHL for two years.