Gameday Journal presented by Monarch Homes: Game 77 — Canadiens vs. Senators
4:30 PM: Get set for puck drop with Gord Wilson and Sens TV.
4:15 PM: Today's Gameday Goodie is with Mark Stone who talks about his first NHL goal (against Montreal) and his "self-celly" after the shootout win over Carolina.
4:00 PM: Here are tonight's projected lineups for the Senators and Canadiens.
Hemsky - Spezza - Michalek
MacArthur - Turris - Stone
Zibanejad - Pageau - Condra
Hoffman - Smith - Neil
Methot - Karlsson
Wiercioch - Ceci
Phillips - Gryba
Pacioretty - Desharnais - Vanek
Galchenyuk - Plekanec - Gallagher
Briere - Eller - Gionta
Bournival - White - Bourque
Markov - Emelin
Bouillon - Subban
Tinordi - Weaver
3:30 PM: Sens captain Jason Spezza is set to return to the lineup tonight. Here's what he had to say about tonight's game...
2:20 PM: Sens defenceman Cody Ceci offered his thoughts on his growth since joining the team. Here's what he had to say...
On changes he has experienced:
A lot has changed. At first it was getting nerves before every game. Going into their (Montreal) building was pretty special, it's a really loud building and it was a good feeling. The last time we were there wasn't the same obviously — it was loud but it all went downhill pretty quick. The fans helped a couple of calls and they get into it pretty quick. A lot has changed and I've learned that a lot can change in a hurry. There's a lot of good players coming up and if someone's not playing well they can be out of the lineup just like that. I just need to keep going and keep learning everyday.
On lessons from the scratch against Calgary:
It was good to get a different perspective of the game and that's what he wanted me to do, just watch from the top and see when I have more time than I think I do. It's completely different to watch it from up there and he wanted to give me that look of the ice and see what I can do to help down the stretch... It always helps when the team is winning. We've been on a bit of a win streak so the mood has been better and going to the games we feel better than when we were on that losing streak and everyone was talking about it. It was tough just losing night after night, coming to the rink and everyone's upset. It was more of a battle in that way.
1:45 PM: Sens head coach Paul MacLean offered his lineup updates and thoughts this morning. Here's what he had to say...
He's good to go so he's going.
We need to make a decision with regards to Jean-Gabriel Pageau and whether or not we want to use our last, fourth call-up to keep him here through the weekend and beyond. Or do we want to save it or use it on somebody else. Those are discussions that we are having and we'll make a final determination on it before the end of the day. Obviously we have to decide shortly what we're going to do... We know he brings speed and he has been great in the faceoff circle the two games he has played. He has helped us in the penalty kill. We had him on the ice 3-on-3 and 4-on-4. He's a really responsible player for us and can play in a lot of different areas. Those are the things we like about him and what he brings... I think the circumstances might lead us that way because it's a final call-up you can use. The circumstances are different from earlier in the year when it was to make sure we got him playing. Right now the circumstances might be that we keep him here but we have to decide if that's what we want to do.
On handling the final call-up available:
We're playing six games in nine days and this is the fifth game. We want to have healthy people. Colin Greening skated today so that's a positive sign for us. Is he going to be available tomorrow? We'll have to wait and see how that goes or is he going to be available on Tuesday or Wednesday against the Islanders. Those are all things that we're going through. Pageau has played well enough for us to consider keeping him here for the extent of the time or do we want to reward somebody else there that's playing. That's the only question we have... It's things you want to think out positively and use it the best way you can to keep your team solid. A lot of the time injuries, unfortunately, come into play but also when you get down to certain numbers you have emergency call-ups so you're not left short handed. You try to plan the call-ups the right way and reward the right people and try to have the best team available.
On if Cowen will make the trip:
Right now, no, he won't play tomorrow night so I don't think he'll make the trip. I don't know that for sure but I don't think he's available for tomorrow so he'd stay here and continue to get treatment.
On what has gone wrong this year:
Well we didn't win enough games this year is the obvious reason. We've chronicled it a number of times before that we have a young defence that we felt was better prepared than they actually were. We lead the league in turnovers and as a result we lead the league in penalties taken which puts pressure on our defensive game, puts pressure on our goaltending and those are things that are hard to defend when you turn over the puck on the wrong side of it. Those are things we've worked very hard at to try and fix and try and correct and we're still working at it.
On the frustration of the season:
Oh I think that yeah, you can use a lot of words to describe what it is but it's still a season. At the same time I think we are a young team that's growing and trying to become an elite team. I don't think we're a team that's considered an elite team in the Eastern Conference, we're still learning and growing and we learned a lot last year through adversity, we created a lot of adversity for ourselves this year but I still think at the end of the day we're going to have growth as a team which should allow us, we believe, to make an even bigger step next year.
10:00 AM: The Ottawa Senators will look to earn a win at home tonight when they host the Montreal Canadiens.
The Senators are coming off of a 2-1 loss to the New York Islanders on Wednesday. Milan Michalek scored the lone goal for the Senators and Craig Anderson made 27 stops in goal but the Sens ultimately couldn't solve Anders Nilsson in goal for the Isles.
The Canadiens are 43-27-7 in 77 games this season, which includes a 22-15-2 record on the road. Their 93 points places them second in the Atlantic Division behind the Boston Bruins. They defeated the Tampa Bay Lightning on Tuesday.
The Senators are 2-0-2 in four games against Montreal this season.
The Sens will hold an optional morning skate at 10:15 today 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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