Gameday Journal presented by Monarch Homes: Game 71 — Lightning vs. Senators
4:45 PM: In today's Gameday Goodie, Mark Stone talks about his return to the big club. Take a look...
4:15 PM: Here are tonight's projected lineups for the Sens and Lightning.
Hemsky - Spezza - Michalek
MacArthur - Turris - Stone
Hoffman - Zibanejad - Condra
Greening - Smith - Neil
Methot - Karlsson
Phillips - Ceci
Cowen - Gryba
Tampa Bay Lightning
Killorn - Stamkos - Purcell
Palat - Filppula - Callahan
Malone - Thompson - Pyatt
Brown - Johnson - Kucherov
Hedman - Salo
Carle - Gudas
Brewer - Kostka
3:30 PM: Marc Methot offered his thoughts on the team defence today after the morning skate. Here's what he had to say...
On the defensive play of the team:
I think it's evident we're giving up too many shots, we're having too many games where we're allowing over 40 shots. I don't have the stats on me but it seems like we've allowed a ton of shots and in those high shot counts are a lot of chances against. There's a lot of reasons for that. I can't name any off the top of my head, we go through it in video, anything from turnovers to having better gap to turnovers in the offensive zone. It ranges all over the ice and everything contributes to that.
On if the team needs to block more shots:
To be honest with you I don't think shot blocking is an issue, it's bigger than that, it's playing in your zone too much and allowing too many shots. The way we play as well, we allow a lot of shots to come in from wide and we allow the goalies to work on those shots and take the wide shot which inflates the count a little bit. That's by no means an excuse, I'm not trying to defend the fact that we need to work a lot more in our own end and we have been. I'm sure in the offseason and over the next few weeks the coaching staff and Bryan are going to try and figure out what to do to change that but internally right now we're trying, we're working, we're just not producing results.
On being in Ottawa this offseason:
It sucks for everybody, I'm sympathetic to the rest of the guys, but for me I'm going to have to deal with it all summer long. Last year I was getting congratulations at golf tournaments and out to dinner with buddies but I'm sure that'll be different this year. That's part of playing in a big market, a Canadian market, a hockey market. You've got to deal with it when you're not playing well, when the team's not doing well, you need to deal with the consequences.
1:00 PM: Sens head coach Paul MacLean updated the media in Tampa Bay after today's morning skate. Here's what he had to say...
We won't have Bobby Ryan tonight or tomorrow night, he has re-aggravated something and right now we're going to keep him out the two games and re-evaluate him when we get home and make a determination after that.
We're going to bring Mark in and give him an opportunity to play with Kyle and Clarke and see if something can happen. I think the Spezza group has played pretty well together since Hemsky has come in and the Smith line has been good, Mika's group has played fine for us as well. We're going to put Mark there and see what can happen for him.
On potential defensive changes:
At this point we're still considering it and we'll see where it is after warm up.
Craig will be available, he had a good day yesterday and he's available to do backup duty for us tonight and tomorrow night. As far as when he would play next we'll evaluate that after today.
On Ryan's injury:
He's playing through — he has been able to play with it and it's something that's, obviously with the way he went into the boards, aggravated. Like I said we'll evaluate him when we get home but it is something he has been playing with... He has been able to play, he can play through lots of things and he's been able to play through it, it hasn't been a factor for him. It was aggravated with the fall into the boards and we have to take some time to evaluate it.
On players dealing with injury:
Well I think everyone, when you play 82 games, is going to have bumps and bruises and that's why you have maintenance days for different players along the way is when you need to give it a day to settle down. I think every player on every team with the compressed schedule and the way it's been the last couple of years with the lockout last year and the Olympic break this year, it has been a drain on the players. I think a lot of them are playing with bumps and bruises and I don't think our team is different than any other.
On how handling injuries as a coach:
I think we can learn a lot about players. I think you learn more about players when times are tough than when times are good. It's easier to be on a team that's been going good, when it's going bad you show your true character and how you really react to the pressure you're under. Those are the kind of guys you want to have at the end when you become an elite team or a team that's contending all the time, you want to have more of those guys than the other guys. Adversity gives you an opportunity to discover that about people and different types of adversity affect people differently. Right now the adversity we're facing as a team and looking forward to 12 games left in the season, we're going to find out a lot about people under different circumstances than we would like, but we're going to find out.
On how players have reacted to this point:
It's all about wins and losses and at the end of the day that's how we're all evaluated is on wins and losses. We haven't been good enough over 70 games and we're still searching for our best team and best game and that's not good at game 70.
12:00 PM: The Sens are getting prepped for tonight's game.
10:00 AM: The Ottawa Senators return to action tonight when they take on the Tampa Bay Lightning at the Tampa Bay Times Forum at 7:30 PM.
The Senators are coming off of a 3-1 loss in Dallas to the Stars on Saturday afternoon. Erik Karlsson scored the team's lone goal while Robin Lehner stopped 41 shots in the loss and was named the game's third star.
The Lightning — who face the Sens for the second time in a week — remain one of the top teams in the Eastern Conference, sitting second in the Atlantic with 86 points from 71 games and a record of 39-24-8. They have put together a 20-8-5 mark at home in that span.
The Senators are 1-2-1 in four games against Tampa Bay this season.
The team will have its morning skate on Monday and I'll have plenty of updates to follow including, but not limited to, lineup changes, players' thoughts, Sens TV content, Instagram goodness and more.
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