Gameday Journal presented by Monarch Homes: Game 30 — Maple Leafs vs. Senators
4:00 PM: Craig Anderson gets the start tonight against Toronto. He is 6-5-0 all-time vs. the Maple Leafs with a 2.64 GAA and .922 save percentage. Here's what he had to say about tonight's game...
On the rivalry providing a boost to the energy:
We're professionals, we have to come out here and play hockey every day. Obviously we'd all like to be a little more consistent and this would be a good time to start. We're going to come in to a full house, this building is going to be rocking, a lot of energy and it's going to be a lot of fun to play in here.
On the importance of the game:
All of the games are big. Obviously it's a division rival and for us it's a four point game. You win and you jump and if you lose you kind of get pushed down a little bit. For us we're going to have to come out and play hard and put everything out there on the line.
On his confidence after the Florida win:
I felt really good that game and it's a long road, it's a process and I've been really working in practice to make sure you feel good when you get off the ice and you work on things to get better. Come game time you just put that all aside and you go out there and react. You do the process and you do the work and usually the results take care of themselves.
On the shots for/against evening out:
I hadn't really noticed or paid attention to be honest with you. Any given night you just don't know what the night's going to bring. Some nights you may have to make 50 saves, some nights you may have to make 20 but at the end of the night you still have to stop one more than the other goalie.
On the goalie rotation:
It's part of the business. I've played a long time in this league and had to earn a lot of ice time. Obviously every player in here earns their ice time and, you know, for me coming back from injury I wasn't playing that great so it's one of those things where if I get in the net and do my job I'll start to earn my ice time.
3:30 PM: Today's Gameday Goodie catches up with The Mayor himself, Marc Methot, to talk a little about rivalries...
3:00 PM: Clarke MacArthur plays his former team tonight. Here's what he had to say on the matchup and the team's performance at home...
On playing against his former team:
It's always a fun challenge to play guys that you know, but I think we're just looking for a win here. It's a team in our conference and we've got to get the two points tonight.
On his production improving his confidence:
Well you want to keep it going and keep working hard and not forget the things that have made our line successful this season. As far as that goes, all of the little things, they don't just add up to wins. Tonight is all about getting two points, these are four point games down the stretch and we've got to find a way to do that tonight.
On getting the win tonight:
Playing in the offensive zone. They've had good goaltending but we've got to find ways to get traffic to the net and be quick in our D-zone. At the bluelines is what has killed us, we've got to be smart at the offensive blue line and defensive blue lines so if we focus on those things we'll give ourselves the best chance.
On playing greasy hockey to get the win:
We've got to play that grind game, get down low and get some sloppy goals by the net. That's the way youv'e got to play a team like this.
On using the rivalry as motivation tonight:
Definitely, we're due for a win here at home, we've got to come out here and play a smarter game at home for sure.
On the importance of the game:
I think we're seven back right now and that's just of the Leafs. It's that time of year where you've got to start turning the corner here and start putting some wins together.
On the struggles at home:
I think it's a combination of things. I think we tighten up a little bit — we have in the past — and with a young team those things happen. That being said there's no excuse not to figure out a way to start winning at home here. If you want to make the playoffs you have to be a good team at home so we've got to figure that out.
2:30 PM:Sens captain Jason Spezza spoke with the media after this morning's workout. Here's what he had to say about tonight...
On 30 games as a fair assessment of a team:
I think we have been an inconsistent team for the first 30 games but we, luckily, have 52 to go to prove that we're more consistent and a better team.
On this year's captaincy as a learning experience:
There's definitely challenges, I think every year there are different challenges, but being a first year captain and having a start we weren't expecting definitely makes you kind of assess things. I think I've become a better leader as the year goes on, you learn more things and you continue to learn more things.
On this year's challenges:
Finding consistency, finding what works for our group and trying to find our way out of the losses. When you have expectations and you lose games it's not a very light locker room and a lot to think about.
On tonight's game:
We always get up for these games, they're one of our biggest rivals, and the significance of the game being where everyone is in the standings makes it more important. It always seems that we're always close together anyways so it's a big game for us tonight.
On if they can take advantage of a team with injury problems:
I think we know they've had lots of injuries but if you look at us the last couple of years we've had lots of injuries and managed to play well. Injuries can be an opportunity for other guys to step up. You don't take any team lightly, it doesn't matter who they are, who's hurt, there are some good hockey players on both teams and you don't take anybody for granted.
1:45 PM: Here are tonight's projected lineups for the Sens and Maple Leafs...
MacArthur - Spezza - Condra
Hoffman - Turris - Ryan
Conacher - Zibanejad - Michalek
Greening - Smith - Neil
Methot - Karlsson
Phillips - Corvo
Cowen - Wiercioch
Toronto Maple Leafs
van Riemsdyk - Kadri - Kessel
Raymond - Smith - Clarkson
Ashton - McClement - Kulemin
McLaren - Holland - D'Amigo
Gunnarsson - Phaneuf
Gardiner - Franson
Fraser - Liles
12:15 PM: The Sens went through their morning skate today and, afterwards, head coach Paul MacLean gave his pregame updates to the media in attendance. Here's what he had to say...
On any changes to today's lineup from Thursday:
No, not right now. Craig Anderson is the goalie. We're going to make some game time decisions for whether or not Kassian plays or not.
On Conacher's availability:
Yeah, he's fine, he's good to go.
On the team through 30 games:
It's not adequate where we are for sure, but I still believe that when you get to 30 games you are what you are. We obviously have work to do so that's where we are and we have lots of work to do.
On the importance of tonight:
Ever since I took this job every time you play the Maple Leafs, it's a big game in this town so that hasn't changed at all. I think the rivalry that was born decades ago is still there and everytime we play the Leafs we get excited about it. We know the game is going to be a physical game and we look forward to it. I don't think that has changed at all. No matter how we're playing or how they're playing it's usually a good game.
On the factors behind the inconsistency:
I would say our execution with the puck has been the biggest issue for our team this year. It has led to us playing in our zone and led to the way that we play.
On how to improve the execution:
Practice, practice, practice, practice…that's the only way I know.
On players trying to do too much:
I think that's part of it. Work ethic, wanting the puck, taking pride in passing the puck, the other team doesn't always behave the way you want them to, they don't just let you pass the puck. There are a lot of factors to it. If you're not loose — if you're tight and tentative — you're probably not going to pass the puck very well. Our team is, I think, we're at that point where when we're tight and tentative we don't pass the puck good. When we're loose we pass it better.
On confidence in the locker room:
When we're inconsistent like we are, what is confidence? It's confidence, but what is it? How do you get it? How do you keep it? I'm not sure. We all should have it. Everyone who plays in the National Hockey League, you should be confident. You're an NHL player. Now, you're going to have some ups and downs in your season and in your career, sure, but even Glenn Healy's an NHL player, I was an NHL player. I'm confident about that, I can't go play now because I'm no good, but I still feel like I'm an NHL player. Playing in the NHL you should be a confident person. Now, you go through ups and downs in your career or in a season, but you should still be confident because you're an NHL player. How does that translate to the ice? I'm not sure.
On Spezza as captain:
I think that's still a work in progress to this point. Our record would indicate that it's an ongoing process and I believe that's what it is but we're really confident that he's going to be able to be the kind of captain we want but it's a process that he has to go through and learn. So far we're fine with the progress; we'd like it to be better but it's a process.
On the urgency in tonight's game:
I think there's urgency in every game we play, I don't think this one is any different from the last one we played. There's urgency every day. Every day that you play it's different from a practice day. It's the Leafs, we usually play good against the good teams. The Red Wings, the Boston Bruins, we play well, we get up for those games, we play well. It's the other ones we have trouble with.
On if the season is hitting a critical point:
I think every game is critical. This one isn't any different than the other ones, we still have lots of games to play and we're going to keep playing them.
9:45 AM: It's gameday in Ottawa and the Sens will be looking to gain some traction on home ice with a win tonight over the Toronto Maple Leafs.
The Sens are coming off of a disappointing 3-1 loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning on Thursday night which saw the team carry play for large stretches, but ultimately not capitalize on opportunities. This is their first meeting with Toronto since the second game of the season when the Sens fell by a 5-4 score in the shootout.
The Maple Leafs sit one spot ahead of the Sens in the Atlantic Division standings with 33 points from a record of 15-11-3, though they have cooled off considerably since a 6-1 start to the season. Tonight's game is of the so-called "four point" variety given their direct proximity in the standings.
The Sens will hit the ice at Canadian Tire Centre at 10 AM and I'll have plenty of updates to follow including, but not limited to, lineup changes, players' thoughts on tonight's game, Sens TV updates, Instagram goodness and more.
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