Gameday Journal presented by Monarch Homes: Game 51 — Lightning vs. Senators
3:30 PM: Here are tonight's projected lineups for the Sens and Lightning.
Michalek - Zibanejad - Conacher
MacArthur - Turris - Ryan
Smith - Spezza - Condra
Greening - Da Costa - Neil
Cowen - Karlsson
Phillips - Ceci
Wiercioch - Gryba
Tampa Bay Lightning
Palat - Johnson - St-Louis
Killorn - Filppula - Purcell
Kucherov - Thompson - Brown
Malone - Crombeen - Aulie
Hedman - Salo
Carle - Gudas
Barbeiro - Brewer
2:30 PM: Here's what Clarke MacArthur had to say ahead of tonight's game in Tampa Bay.
1:45 PM: Here's what head coach Paul MacLean had to say after today's skate in Tampa Bay.
On tonight's lineup:
We're going to go with the same group that played in Washington and look for a similar result here tonight.
Marc has recovered from the injury he had when he missed practice but the team goes on the road and wins 2-0 and plays well so we have to reward that. Patrick Wiercioch and Eric Gryba both, we thought, played very well in the Washington game and deserve to play again coming off the win.
I think both him and Eric were in the regular turn of our lineup at the start of the year and got a little bit — I don't know if we blame them for the start of the year — but they had some growth issues which isn't unexpected in this league and I think since they've been in and out of the lineup they've been very diligent about paying attention to what we show them on video and what we do in practice to continue to work at their game so they can become regular NHL players. We really have a lot of confidence in them moving forward that they're going to be very important parts of our team and they've worked very hard in practice to continue to get better and that's the one thing that youth gives you is the opportunity to grow and I think over the last 25 games where they've been in and out of the lineup both of them have grown as NHL players and it has been very positive.
On what they need from the PP:
For me it's always shooting the puck. The more you shoot it, you get it back, you get an opportunity to break things down afterwards. I think at some times we get a little too deliberate at the start of the power play and trying to create something or see something that's there rather than just shooting the puck and getting it back. Then there should be plenty of stuff to find. We have quality players that we put out there, our power play has been timely for us and we expect it to continue.
On Tampa Bay:
They're a very good team, they play with good team speed and they have a way to play that's very fast. You have to make sure you're ready to skate and you're aware when things aren't going your way that you make sure you're heading in the right direction at the right time.
On the need to play around the crease:
With both teams there should be lots of shots and both of us seem to give them up. Ben Bishop, we know Ben obviously, "Too Tall" is a very good goalie in the league and for us to have any kind of opportunity against him, we're going to have to make it hard for him.
On keeping Methot out:
It is (hard) for him, but it's hard for him too and for Joe Corvo and for Eric Gryba. The situation we're in right now on our team is from the start of the year we have eight defencemen and we have to try and find a way to use them all. Sometimes minor injuries can get in the way. We wanted to make sure in the Washington game that we didn't make things worse. Things haven't gotten worse and he has improved but when players go in the lineup and play well I think it's important that you reward them for playing well and continue to give them the opportunity. It's really not about Marc or Patrick or Eric, it's about the Ottawa Senators and what is the right thing for our team to give us a chance to win.
1:30 PM: Erik Condra is hitting the 200 NHL game milestone tonight. Here's what he had to say about making it this far.
On the journey to 200 games:
Spending time in Binghamton, you learn a lot. It wasn't an easy road for a lot of us up here. A lot of us are kind of in the same boat where we're around 200, 250 games, the guys that came from Binghamton together and we're growing together. Hopefully we can bring that core and build something around it.
12:45 PM: Milan Michalek is slated to play his 600th NHL game tonight when the Sens take on Tampa Bay. Here's what he had to say about the milestone...
On playing 600 NHL Games:
It's nice, it has been a lot of years now and I'm happy. It was always my dream to play in the NHL and now I'm at 600 so it's something special for me and hopefully I can have many more games.
10:00 AM: The Ottawa Senators will look to pick up another road win tonight when they take on the Tampa Bay Lightning at 7:30 PM.
The Senators are coming off of a 2-0 win over the Washington Capitals on Tuesday night. Kyle Turris and Jason Spezza were the goal scorers while Craig Anderson pitched a 34 save shutout to earn the team's seventh straight win over the Capitals.
The Lightning continue to have success despite the absence of Steven Stamkos and sit second in the Atlantic Division with a 29-16-5 record, good for 63 points, and earned a 5-3 win over the Carolina Hurricanes on the road in their last game. Tampa took the only matchup between the two this season by a 3-1 score in December.
The Sens will have their morning skate at 11:30 AM in Tampa Bay 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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