Gameday Journal presented by Monarch Homes: Game 35 — Blues vs. Senators
4:40 PM: Here are tonight's projected lineups for the Sens and Blues...
MacArthur - Spezza - Condra
Conacher - Turris - Ryan
Greening - Pageau - Neil
Michalek - Smith - Zibanejad
Cowen - Karlsson
Phillips - Ceci
Corvo - Wiercioch
St. Louis Blues
Steen - Backes - Oshie
Morrow - Roy - Stewart
Paajarvi - Berglund - Tarasenko
Porter - Lapierre - Cracknell
Pietrangelo - Bouwmeester
Shattenkirk - Jackman
Cole - Polak
4:30 PM: Today's Gameday Goodie is with Ottawa native and Sens rookie Cody Ceci who projects to play in his third NHL game tonight. Take a look...
3:00 PM: Robin Lehner gets the start for the Sens tonight. Here's what he had to say about the game...
I feel good, it's a good challenge. These are the games you want to play and it's a good challenge for all of us.
On the start to the game:
I don't think it's our focus, our focus is more trying to string 60-65 minutes together, play a good, consistent game and just work hard.
On getting the start after a tough Saturday:
I think all of us have had a tough season so far and right now we've got to try everything, we've got to try and win every game. Obviously you want to get back in there but we're not the coaches so there's not much to say.
2:30 PM: Kyle Turris offered his thoughts after today's morning skate of tonight's game with St. Louis. Here's what he had to say...
On playing St. Louis' centres and blueline:
Backes, Berglund, Sobotka, they're great two-way guys and they're always going to chip in offensively, but defensively they make it hard for the other team to play against. It's something we're going to have to battle and we know we're going to be in for a competitive game.
On getting more pucks on net:
I think the key is just doing what comes natural, whether it's shooting or making the pass. We've all gotten to this level because we all know how to make plays and we know which plays to make. Right now we've got to shoot it, but if a guy is in my shooting lane and I've got Karl wide open for a shot I'm obviously going to pass it. It's things like that we can't overthink and just make the play. That, in a way, is simplifying it and once it gets simplified goals come.
On his efforts to put more pucks through:
I'm just putting the puck on net and at the end of they year in my experience, usually it balances out to one out of every 10 or a 10 per cent shooting percentage. I feel like I'm due for a couple.
12:00 PM: Here's what Paul MacLean had to say after today's morning skate...
On tonight's lineup:
Jared Cowen is back from suspension so he'll go in and Gryba will come out…We're going to keep (Methot) out again. Last week when he came in we thought we brought him back a little bit too soon. Today he gets another day of practice, he'll get another good practice and then we'll make a decision based on that for Wednesday or Thursday. We want to really make sure he's back — he lost a ton of weight being sick twice — we want to make sure he's ready to go before we get him in there.
On if Ceci factors into the decision:
No, we'd play Cody anyway.
On tonight's starter:
Robin Lehner is the goalie, yes.
On if he considered going back to Craig Anderson:
We gave it a lot of discussion, actually, about who gives us the best opportunity. Throughout the discussion was a lot of stuff but it came down to we felt Robin would give us the best chance today.
On the Blues:
They're much like the LA Kings. They're big, they're strong, they play the same way for 60-65 minutes, they don't mind trading paint. They go to the net hard, they defend hard, they're good in the faceoff circle. Steen has got 22 goals, Backes is a point a game player. They have a very solid team from start to bottom and they're going to be a difficult opponent.
On if Ceci could stick for a while:
Well he has stuck around for — this will be his third game — so we'll evaluate it as we move forward, but he certainly has come up and showed he can play in the league. We're perfectly willing to allow him to still play in the league. He moves the puck well, he has been competitive and if he is one of the best players we should keep him around.
On slow starts:
That's something we're going to talk about again tonight because we get a chance to tonight. The start of the game is important and we're going to put some emphasis on it again tonight. We're feeling much more comfortable with a 7:30 start than we are with a 2:00 start, but at the same time, 7:38, we've had some issues there too. We have to make sure we do a good job in the warmup, do a good job in our preparation. We know it's a good team coming to play so we better be ready.
The Sens had their four game point streak snapped by the LA Kings on Saturday afternoon as they came out on the wrong end of a 5-2 loss. The Sens brought the game back to a 3-2 margin on the strength of goals from Joe Corvo and Erik Karlsson, but ultimately couldn't bring it any closer.
The Blues currently sit behind only the Blackhawks in the Central division with five games in hand and a record of 22-6-3 through 31 games. They come to Ottawa off of a 4-3 win over the Columbus Blue Jackets and will wrap up their two game road trip tonight. Through 13 games against the Eastern Conference they have put together an 11-2-0 record.
The Sens will hit the ice for their morning skate at 10:15 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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