Gameday Journal presented by Monarch Homes: Game 65 — Predators vs. Senators
Those looking to pick up tickets to the event can do so here.
3:15 PM: Erik Karlsson will look to get back on the scoresheet tonight after being held pointless in Winnipeg and Calgary. Here's what he had to say about tonight's game against the Predators...
On getting a good start at home:
We had a tough couple of games there where we didn't play the way we wanted and in Winnipeg we really showed a lot of emotion, especially when we got the lead and goals early. I think we played the rest of the game really solid. Hopefully today coming home everybody is going to be excited, it has been a while, so hopefully we can start the same way.
They're a good, solid defensive team and they have some firepower up front as well. We've got to get a lot of traffic on net and get to Rinne early, try to get a lot of shots in there and feel confident about ourselves. Hopefully with the chances we get we can find the back of the net.
On the importance of building a streak:
I think we've shown we can be a streaky team both ways. Hopefully this time it's for the better. We've got to win a lot of games to get in the playoffs and we know that. We play under a lot of pressure and I think we showed we can handle it last game. Hopefully we can do it tonight as well.
On the shootout:
I've only been in the League since the shootout has been there so I like it, I don't mind it. Maybe it's a bit of a gamble but it's a fun event and I think everybody enjoys taking shootouts, even if you lose sometimes. If you extend the games with the amount of games we play it's going to be tough on some players to play a lot.
On the Winnipeg win as a boost:
Even though we didn't play really well in Calgary and Edmonton I think we still felt pretty good about ourselves and our game. I don't think it really bothered us that much. In Winnipeg I think we showed a lot of emotion right from the start and we got the lead right away. For the rest of the game we played pretty well defensively even though they had a couple of chances. Andy is playing well for us right now and I think we feel pretty comfortable in both ends of the ice.
On using emotion:
It has been an up-and-down season, I don't really think — except for after New Year's where we played really well for a number of games — and except for that it has been a lot of up and down, we've won one and lost one and it's really tough to say exactly why. I think overall we've felt pretty good about ourselves all year and it's important games for us going forward here now and I think everybody really wants to get into the playoffs. I've been a part of missing it so I really hope we don't do that again.
2:45 PM: Here are tonight's projected lineups for the Sens and Predators.
Michalek - Spezza - Hemsky
Hoffman - Turris - Ryan
Kassian - Zibanejad - Condra
Greening - Smith - Neil
Methot - Karlsson
Phillips - Ceci
Cowen - Gryba
Cullen - Fisher - Spaling
Nystrom - Wilson - Smith
Clune - Gaustad - Stalberg
Bourque - Sissons - Eaves
Josi - Weber
Jones - Ekholm
Del Zotto - Ellis
2:00 PM: Mike Hoffman recorded his first goal and assist as an NHLer on Saturday in Winnipeg. Here's what he had to say about the next steps...
On getting the first points:
It was great, the assist came first a shift before the goal. I was just trying to get the puck out front to Turris and it went in but it felt good to finally get that first one out of the way. We got a power play right after that and Spezza gave me a great pass backdoor. It feels good to get those first two out of the way.
On his comfort level helping production:
I think the biggest thing was to just be patient. People talk about no points yet but the chances were coming and I think it was just a matter of time before one of them win.
On focusing on his play rather than point totals:
It happens when you're playing in the minors, there's times where you're going to have a great game but you end up pointless. Those things happen but you've just got to get over those and just be patient.
On focusing on developing consistency:
I think that's what everyone would like to work towards, that's what I'm trying to do and I feel a lot more confident. Finally getting those two out of the way was huge.
On playing the point on the PP:
Ever since I was 17 years old playing junior B hockey I played defence there and then all through my junior career and now my professional career so far. I like it better, I think it's more of a shooter's position and there's a bit more space up top to make plays. I like it out there... If you can execute some plays from there it's not something easy to defend against. It was a great pass from Spezza cross-crease and the goalie didn't have a chance.
1:15 PM: New Sens acquisition Ales Hemsky will make his home debut tonight for the Sens against the Predators. Here's what he had to about tonight's game...
On his game in Winnipeg:
It was nice to win and we know what kind of spot we are in. We need every game so it was important for us to win the game.
On developing familiarity with Spezza:
The first game I just came for the game so we didn't really have time to talk so I didn't know too much. The second game I had time to talk and figure out where to go and how to be on the power play so it was way better.
On being in a playoff race:
I wasn't in those games for seven years so it's hard in those last 20 games or 30 games when you're not battling for the playoffs. I'm happy I can be here and I'm excited I can be in that spot again because I like those games.
On playing his first game in Ottawa:
It'll be nice to play here again, I played here a couple of years in junior, I have my billets coming to the game so it'll be fun to see some people and play for them again.
On if it's too early to talk about chemistry:
Yeah probably, it's just the second game. We'll see how it'll go from here. The most important thing is to win the game so whatever happens after that it doesn't matter.
On using the week to get familiar with the team and city:
Yeah, after today we have four days off so I think so, but for me it's not a big change. I know the city, I was here before so it's not a huge change. You play every second day so it's not like you have time to do something else.
12:15 PM: Sens head coach Paul MacLean spoke to the media after Monday's morning skate. Here's what he had to say...
First of all I'd like to congratulate Dave Smart and the Carleton Ravens on their 10th national championship for CIS basketball and also congratulate the Ottawa Gee-Gees on being in the final. It was a heck of a game yesterday and I really enjoyed it.
On the Predators:
Tough opponent, they've got their goalie back and he's good, he can be real good and he's a big part of their team. They're a hard-working team, they're very well coached, their power play can be good with Weber and how he can shoot it and we're in for a tough test.
On the importance of the start:
When you come home from a road trip the start is tough, we have to make sure we're ready to go. I thought we did some good things today to get ready but obviously the game is tonight and we have to make sure we're ready to go. It's a big game, not only for us but for them, it's the biggest game of the year so far with all of the implications that go with it and we know that they're going to be ready to play and it's important that we are.
MacArthur is out, he did skate today on his own with Jason Smith. I'm going to anticipate he'll play Saturday in Montreal.
On the struggle of the home power play:
Pressure is the only thing that I can come up with. At home in front of the home crowd, we get stage fright. On the road we do things simpler. The only thing I can come up with is the pressure of playing at home.
On Hemsky staying with Spezza:
That's what we're going to do right now. I think he played fine in both of the games obviously and he looks to me like it's going to be a fit. We're going to leave it alone and let it go... At least a period, at least a start.
I was actually surprised it was his first goal. I thought he had one already. Since he has been here since the break he has been very consistent and he has been the most comfortable that he has been in the times we've called him up and it appears like he's ready to play. He has been good and I think we'll just leave him there and let him do what he has to do. It's good for him, really good for him, to get the goal and assist and get going. Hopefully that's going to mean good things going forward.
On tonight's starter:
On playing Kassian over a call-up:
We had some discussion over it, every time I look at the record when Matt Kassian plays we have an .850 winning percentage so why aren't we playing him? Matt played very good in Winnipeg, he has been a good player for us and at this point we're going to give him the opportunity.
10:00 AM: The Ottawa Senators return to Canadian Tire Centre today as they prepare to host the Nashville Predators in their first home game since February 27.
The Sens won a 5-3 decision in Winnipeg in their last action on Saturday afternoon. Goals from Milan Michalek, Jared Cowen, Eric Gryba, Kyle Turris and Mike Hoffman (his first in the NHL) provided the offence for the Sens while Craig Anderson was stellar in goal, stopping 46 shots to earn the win. Ales Hemsky recorded a three assist game in his second outing in a Senators jersey.
The Predators have put together a record of 26-28-10 in 64 games this season which is good for 62 points and seventh place in the Western Conference's Central division. They have posted an 11-12-6 record away from Nashville to this point in the season. In their last game they dropped a 1-0 decision to the Blue Jackets at home.
The Sens won the lone matchup between the two teams in January.
The Sens will have their morning skate at 10:15 AM 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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