Gameday Journal presented by Monarch Homes: Game 42 — Capitals vs. Senators
4:15 PM: Today's Gameday Goodie talks New Year's Resolutions with Kyle Turris. Take a look...
3:30 PM: With Jason Spezza out of the lineup, Mika Zibanejad is taking on a heavy portion of the captain's load and was named the first star of Saturday's game. Here's what he had to say on how things have gone...
On being the top line centre:
I don't know if I see it that way, but I've played with Milo and Conacher before and it worked well last game, we created chances and got a couple of goals too. For me it's just to keep it simple, make sure they get the puck and create space with my skating for both myself and them. I think it's a good mix, all three of us kind of skate and are shifty, nifty players too so we try to read off each other. It's been working so far so hopefully we can build off of it.
On earning a first star on Saturday:
I was kind of surprised actually, I thought they had the wrong guy at first when they told me, but it's obviously nice to get rewarded that way. At the same time, the win was most important and I'm happy with that.
On Michalek and Conacher:
I think he (Michalek) is a sniper and he can score, obviously Cory can score also, but I think Cory is more of a grinder in front of the net, I think he has the touch to pass the puck as well. I feel like Milo is maybe a bigger version of Cory, both have a great shot and I think we're a bit different but similar enough to fill in for each other and help each other out. I think it's a good thing, hopefully we can keep going.
On if he tries to shoot more since playing the wing:
Obviously now it's going to be a bit harder because I feel like I'm going to set up the other guys now and have the puck more in our own zone and the neutral zone, but obviously if I have a chance to shoot it I'm going to shoot it. I feel it's a bit of a different game now when I'm in the middle and I feel like I have to try to feed other guys and, like I said, try to use my skating and use that to create chances for me, Cory and Milo.
On if there's an adjustment going back to taking faceoffs:
A bit, yeah. I feel the more you take them the more you get used to it and the more you get into the timing and all of that. I think it's just a matter of adjustment to get into the rhythm again and get into those draws and battles. I've been getting good help from Milo and Cory on the side. It was a tough game last game on the draw but I think it's coming around.
2:25 PM: Here are tonight's projected lineups for the Sens and Capitals...
Michalek - Zibanejad - Conacher
MacArthur - Turris - Ryan
Greening - Smith - Neil
Kassian - Pageau - Condra
Cowen - Karlsson
Methot - Corvo
Wiercioch - Ceci
Johansson - Backstrom - Ovechkin
Fehr - Grabovski - Brouwer
Chimera - Erat - Ward
Volpatti - Beagle - Wilson
Alzner - Carlson
Orlov - Green
Erskine - Oleksy
1:45 PM: Joe Corvo, a former Capitals defenceman, talks about the challenges the team faces tonight.
12:30 PM: Here's what Paul MacLean had to say ahead of today's game with the Washington Capitals.
On Chris Phillips:
He skated today which is positive but I think we're going to be a little cautious with it. We have two more days before we play and I think we're going to hold him out — same with Jason — tonight to give them two more days and we'll re-evaluate it for the game on Thursday.
On the defensive group without Phillips:
It'll be the same defence, yes. Gryba will be out.
On what is lost without Spezza;
He's the captain of the team so leadership, his faceoff ability is one of the best in the league, his ability to create offence, he's a big man who gets through the middle of the rink. There's a lot of things that aren't there and he's a veteran player. He has played 700 games so those are things — he makes our power play better — but, like we've said a lot of times in the past, one man's injury is another man's opportunity. It's an opportunity for Mika to play centre and get involved in those situations and see what he can do.
On the Capitals:
Their power play is very good, they have a very good setup and obviously (Ovechkin) shoots it in the net all the time so that's something that concerns you is he hasn't done that in two or three games so that means he's probably going to be hungry to shoot the puck. We have to find a way to make sure we don't give him those good opportunities. They're a big team that plays a good game, they're going to be a difficult opponent and we have to make sure we're ready to play.
10:00 AM: It's game day in Ottawa today and the Senators will be looking for another strong home performance tonight when they play host to the Washington Capitals.
The Sens are coming off of an emotional 4-3 win over the Boston Bruins at home on Saturday night thanks to a 29 save performance from Craig Anderson and a dramatic game winning goal from Bobby Ryan with under five minutes to play. It was the team's second consecutive win at home after 5-0 win over the Penguins last Monday.
The Capitals currently sit second in the Metropolitan Division with 45 points from 39 games and a 20-14-5 record and come to Ottawa after a 2-1 shootout loss to the Buffalo Sabres on Sunday night. The Sens took the lone matchup between the two this season with a 6-4 win in Washington.
The Sens will hit the ice for their morning skate at 10:15 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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