Gameday Journal presented by Monarch Homes: Game 40 — Bruins vs. Senators
4:00 PM: Today's Gameday Goodie stars Eric Gryba who talks about his Christmas break. Take a look...
3:45 PM: Here are tonight's projected lineups for the Sens and Bruins...
Michalek - Spezza - Zibanejad
MacArthur - Turris - Ryan
Greening - Smith - Neil
Conacher - Pageau - Condra
Cowen - Karlsson
Phillips - Ceci
Methot - Gryba
Lucic - Krejci - Iginla
Marchand - Bergeron - Smith
Soderberg - Spooner - Fraser
Paille - Campbell - Caron
Chara - Krug
Seidenberg - Boychuk
Bartkowski - McQuaid
3:00 PM: Here's what Jason Spezza had to say after today's morning skate...
2:45 PM: Robin Lehner gets the start in goal for the Sens tonight after battling with the flu before Christmas. He is 2-3-2 all-time vs. Boston with a 2.11 GAA and a .943 save percentage. Here's what he had to say...
On how he feels:
I feel better today. The holidays were — it was nice to have family here, but I wasn't feeling too good. I feel better today.
On the flu bug:
I think it's running a little bit through Ottawa but we're getting over it.
On when he found out he was starting:
It was decided before, I knew it a few days ago.
On his success vs. Boston:
I think we play well against Boston, I've got a bunch of opportunities against them and I'll just try to get a win today and we'll be happy.
2:30 PM: Sens head coach Paul MacLean spoke with the media following Friday morning's skate. Here's what he had to say...
On the lineup:
No changes to the blueline, Robin Lehner will be the goalie, Wiercioch and Corvo will be out, Mika will be a gametime decision, we'll see how he is, but if he can go Kassian will come out.
On the home and home with Boston:
Well we've had lots of back-to-back it seems in December and this to finish it off may as well be three in four nights again for us. But, after the three day break, we look to the chance every time we play the Boston Bruins it's always a challenge to play the team that has gone to the Stanley Cup final and won the Stanley Cup, it's always a test. I know for our group it's always a test and we look forward to this one tonight and then back home tomorrow night. It's going to be a good test for us, we feel we've played better our last 10 games but teams like Boston, they bring out the best in us and that's only good for us.
On Lehner's play vs. Boston:
His consistency has been very good over the years and over the season. We've put him in some tough spots on purpose in his development as a goaltender and tonight is not any different. He has come in here before and played very well. That obviously comes into the equation when you decide who the goalie is after a Christmas break like this. Robin has responded, he has worked very hard to be a consistent goaltender and tonight's another opportunity for him to do that.
On if there is a lot of prep for the Bruins:
Well we think we have to do our due diligence to see who is doing well for them but they're a team that plays — they're hard to play against because they play the same way all the time, they play it all the time and they just stick to it and stick to it and that's something we admire, or I do as a coach, that a team can play that way. That's what we aspire to get to is we can get that good for that long and that consistently.
On if the break hurt after a big win:
Not really, I thought we needed a three day break. Our schedule was pretty heavy leading up to that, I think we had three back-to-backs and we ended up playing 16 games or 14, 13 games before Christmas in December so it was a really heavy schedule so the break was good for us. We've won one in a row lots of times this year and this is an opportunity to see if we can win back-to-back games.
On the need to string together wins:
That's what we've been searching for, for the most part all year. We've only done it one time when we got the three wins, it's a pretty daunting task possibly against the Boston Bruins. We know they're not going to be accommodating to us but if we come out and play for the full game and the 65 minutes and play hard we feel that we're going to have a chance.
I think he still has to improve in his total game but his size and his physicality are things that make him the strong player that he is and he has been that way the last number of games with Marc Methot, they've been a good pair for us. But at the same time, the consistency — and it's not just him, the whole team has been a little bit inconsistent — that's something we continue to work on and he's no different.
On last season's injuries:
Right now I only remember the last game, I don't go back to last year very often, but I know that injuries are a part of this game. Sometimes you have no way of controlling them, you try to do what you can do to control your injuries. That's just the way it is in this league and every team goes through it at some point.
On if he considered starting Anderson after the shutout:
No, not at all, the plan was in place and we're sticking to it.
11:30 AM: The Sens are in Boston to get ready for tonight's game...
10:00 AM: The Ottawa Senators return to action today after a three-day Christmas break with a tilt in Boston to take on the Bruins.
The Sens are coming off of a big 5-0 win over the Pittsburgh Penguins prior to the break. Goals from five different players — Zack Smith, Bobby Ryan, Erik Karlsson, Kyle Turris and Cory Conacher — provided the offence while Craig Anderson stopped 27 shots in the back end to lead the team to a victory over a Pittsburgh team that bounced them from the 2013 playoffs.
The Bruins are on top of the Atlantic division with 52 points in just 37 games this season. They entered the Christmas break with a big win of their own — a 6-2 win over the Nashville Predators. The Sens took the lone matchup between the two teams this season with a 4-2 victory in Ottawa.
The Sens will hit the ice for their morning skate at 11:30 today 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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