Gameday Journal presented by Monarch Homes: Game 56 — Penguins vs. Senators
4:30 PM: Today's Gameday Goodie talks to Jason Spezza about the Super Bowl and the team doing a little bit of bonding over the big game.
4:00 PM: Here are tonight's projected lineups for the Sens and Penguins.
MacArthur - Turris - Ryan
Michalek - Spezza - Zibanejad
Greening - Smith - Neil
Conacher - Da Costa - Condra
Cowen - Karlsson
Methot - Gryba
Wiercioch - Ceci
Kunitz - Crosby - Gibbons
Jokinen - Malkin - Neal
Glass - Sutter - Megna
Pyatt - Adams - Engelland
Orpik - Martin
Scuderi - Bortuzzo
Maatta - Niskanen
3:30 PM: Marc Methot fielded questions today about his hit on Sidney Crosby in December which resulted in an injury to Pascal Dupuis.
On the Dupuis injury resulting from his hipcheck:
I'm doing my job, I'm physical on one player, it's not my fault he runs into another. It's just part of the game. It's a physical sport, I get hit a lot too, sometimes I run into other guys and it was just a freak accident. I actually ran into Dupuis this morning and talked to him a little bit but there's not much you can do. It was a freak accident… He told me it could have been worse, he could have got a skate to the face, right? Obviously you never wish anybody to get hurt in the league and I have a lot of respect for both Sidney and Dupuis but it's a hockey play and I'm doing my job. I look stupid if he goes around me and scores a goal so I've got to play him hard…I lock in with his hip, that's one of my specialties and I've landed a couple of other nice ones since that hit. I lock in with the guy's hip and usually twist them around and there was no exception there with Sid. I can't get lower than his kneecap, I'm 6-foot-3. I can understand how he'd be emotional after a game like that and losing a player but, like I said, it's a hockey play, it's in the game and you're allowed to hit guys like that.
On being physical with Crosby:
It's definitely way easier said than done, there's a reason why great players are great, you're not able to hit them. They're always in good spots, their heads are always up and, to be honest, I rarely ever get licks on Sidney and I'm matched up against him quite a bit so it was just one of those things where I don't think he saw it coming. Playing physical on top lines — not just Sidney Crosby's line — throughout the league is key. That's how you can discourage teams from scoring goals and getting comfortable in our D zone. That's part of our game.
2:45 PM: Here's what Bobby Ryan had to say after today's morning skate.
2:00 PM: Here's what Paul MacLean had to say after today's morning skate.
On the lineup:
Stéphane Da Costa will go in, Matt Kassian will come out and Craig Anderson is the goalie. Chris Phillips will not be joining us in St. Louis tomorrow, he could be possible for Buffalo or Boston at the end of the week.
He public skated today this morning so that's progress…it's a lower body injury.
Mark Stone is practicing the last two days which is obviously positive for him, making progress. I'll talk to Gerry at the end of the day but it's possible he could play before the break as well which would be positive... I think tomorrow might be a little early but we'll see. I'll check with Gerry, it looked like he had a good skate today and we just have to make sure.
On the turnaround since the win over Pittsburgh:
Our game was coming around slowly. I think we played a different Pittsburgh team that night than we're going to play tonight and I think that didn't hurt us either in the game but we did play well in the game. We dictated a lot of the game and we need to try to do that again here tonight. We know it's going to be a significant challenge for us with the difference in their team but we look forward to it.
On the play vs. Toronto:
It did get away from us whether or not we let it. It didn't seem like they did a lot different in their game but they stuck to it better than we did and we turned the puck over four times below our goal line and they made us pay a price for that. That's something we hadn't been doing in quite a while but it came back. Now we have to come back here tonight and manage the puck better and make sure we put it on sticks.
On keeping focus ahead of the break:
I think they're all professional and know what's at stake. Around the league every game has been important going into the break and I think everyone is looking forward to getting to the break. I don't think they're distracted by it until it gets here.
On if the Olympic announcement affected Ryan:
Maybe for a game but I don't think it has done anything more than that. I wouldn't give it any more creedence than that. Every player goes through their cycles that they go through. I think he has got 20 and we've still got 30 games to play. That's pretty good.
10:00 AM: The Ottawa Senators will look to get back in the win column tonight when they visit the Pittsburgh Penguins.
The Senators got good production from their checking line on Saturday night with a pair of goals from Chris Neil and another marker from Colin Greening but ultimately couldn't muster a win after a tough third period in a 6-3 loss to Toronto.
The Penguins are the top team in the Eastern Conference this season with a record of 38-15-2 in 55 games, good for 78 points. They've also been a tough team to beat on home ice with a record of 22-4-0.
In their lone meeting this season the Sens took a 5-0 win in Ottawa
The Sens will hit the ice for their morning skate at 11:30 AM at Consol Energy Center 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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