Gameday Journal presented by Monarch Homes: Game 45 — Avalanche vs. Senators
6:30 PM: Today's Gameday Goodie talks to Patrick Wiercioch about his time at the University of Denver and his return to Colorado.
Michalek - Zibanejad - Conacher
MacArthur - Turris - Ryan
Stone - Spezza - Greening
Kassian - Smith - Condra
Cowen - Karlsson
Phillips - Ceci
Methot - Gryba
Landeskog - Stastny - Mitchell
Mackinnon - Duchene - McGinn
McLeod - Cliche - Talbot
Malone - Van Der Gulik - Bordeleau
Hejda - Johnson
Sarich - Benoit
Barrie - Holden
5:00 PM: Craig Anderson makes a return to the building he called home prior to his trade to Ottawa. Here is what he had to say...
4:30 PM: Here's what Paul MacLean had to say after today's skate in Colorado...
On tonight's lineup:
We're going to have Jason Spezza go in the lineup and tonight Pageau will come out. No (changes on defence).
On Pageau's scratch:
Well the way that Zack Smith has played at centre ice and we're getting Jason back to play centre, Mika has played at centre ice, it basically is just a little bit crowded right now and tonight for the first game back we'd like to have Zack and Mika both play at centre ice so that pushes Page down the lineup. That doesn't mean — we'll get ready for the next game and evaluate the lineup, it doesn't mean we're displeased with how he has played, it's just a little crowded there with Mika playing centre.
On tonight's emphasis:
Well to start, short shifts early in the game. I think we've been out here for a day and it's going to be important for us to manage our shift length and make sure we maintain a good pace and tempo. After that it's basically coming out and establishing our game with the forecheck and trying to make sure we're playing more in their end than ours.
They play fast, they have a really good group of forwards and they support their defence really well. Their goaltending has been a strength for them as well. For us we have to make them play in their rink a lot more — their forwards are a lot like our forwards, they'd rather play in the other team's end than their own end too long and if we can do that that's good for us.
On if eight defencemen is a problem:
Not for me, it certainly can be for them, but that's the way it has gone out this year. It's not the ideal situation for us but that's the way it has worked out this season and we try to monitor it as best we can. We're not displeased with how Wiercioch or Corvo have played or how Gryba has played either, we're just managing it on a game by game basis as to who we think we need for the opposition. It's all based on the opposition more than it is on the player.
On Cody Ceci:
He hasn't reached a point where has stopped being a player. When we first called him up he was playing so well in the American Hockey League, he was arguably the best player in the league period when we called him up, we were having some issues in oru own zone and we'll play him as long as we can until we have to send him back but he hasn't reached that point yet. At this point it's a credit to him he has managed to play at a very consistent and high level and we've needed that on our team and he has provided it…He's nothing compared to the one when he played for the 67s, I left after two periods, I couldn't stand the way he played for the 67s but that's a different time and a different age and a different system and a different league. He has come to training camp and we had talked to him about using his skating ability to defend as well as to play on offence and being competitive. He has done all of the things we've asked of him. He has gone down and worked with Luke and Steve Stirling in Binghamton obviously and has improved on his game. Players learn at a different level, right now his learning rate seems to be much quicker than maybe some other players' is and that's a credit to him. He's a highly drafted player so you would expect that they would be able to assimilate themselves quicker into the league and he has done that…He's getting better, he's getting better every game he plays. I think he's at a very consistent level of play and a high level of play.
10:30 AM: It's game day in Colorado and the Sens will be looking to make it five straight victories tonight when they drop the puck against the Avalanche at 9:30 PM.
The Senators are coming off of a road win in Montreal over the rival Canadiens in overtime. After jumping out to a 3-1 lead early in the first period on goals from Colin Greening, Mark Stone (his first in the NHL) and Erik Condra, the Canadiens clawed back into the game and forced an extra period at home. With a 4-on-3 advantage in OT however, Clarke MacArthur provided the game winner the Sens needed to take the 4-3 win.
The Avalanche are a surprise upstart in the Western Conference having gone from the first overall pick in last year's draft to a 26-12-4 record in 52 games, good for 56 points, and have posted a 15-6-2 mark at home. In their last game they dropped a 4-3 decision to the Calgary Flames.
The Sens will hit the ice for their morning skate at 11:30 today (1:30 ET) 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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