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Posted On Wednesday, 05.22.2013 / 12:24 PM

By Erin Nicks -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - Penguins-Senators series blog

Stone replacing Conacher in Senators lineup

OTTAWA -- The youth movement for the Ottawa Senators continues; 21-year-old forward Mark Stone will enter the lineup for Game 4 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals on Wednesday against the Pittsburgh Penguins (7:30 p.m. ET, NBCSN, CBC, RDS).

Ottawa is down 2-1 in the best-of-7 series, and Senators coach Paul MacLean wanted a bigger body around the opposing net, something the 6-foot-2, 188-pound wing can provide.

"We factored in how well [Stone] has played in the American Hockey League [with Binghamton] this year," MacLean said of Stone, who tied for the AHL team lead with 38 points. "He's really had a good season there. He's really good with the puck and without it. He's a big man down around the net."

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Posted On Sunday, 05.19.2013 / 12:45 PM

By Erin Nicks -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - Penguins-Senators series blog

Senators hope Spezza's return gets Michalek going

OTTAWA -- The Ottawa Senators are hoping the return of Jason Spezza for Game 3 on Sunday night against the Pittsburgh Penguins may also mean the re-emergence of his linemate, Milan Michalek.

The struggles of Michalek during the Stanley Cup Playoffs have been difficult to ignore. The 28-year-old missed 24 regular-season games with a right knee injury, eventually requiring arthroscopic surgery in March to clean out debris around the joint. In 23 games, Michalek scored four goals and 10 assists. Since his return on April 12, Michalek has rarely participated in practices, electing instead to rest and recuperate.


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Posted On Sunday, 05.19.2013 / 11:51 AM

By Erin Nicks -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - Penguins-Senators series blog

Senators announce Spezza part of Game 3 lineup

OTTAWA -- The Ottawa Senators find themselves down 2-0 in their Eastern Conference Semifinals series with the Pittsburgh Penguins heading into Game 3 Sunday night (7:30 p.m. ET, NBCSN, CBC, RDS). But the Senators are hoping the return of Jason Spezza to their lineup provides the spark they desperately need.

Spezza has been out of the lineup since Jan. 27, and a herniated disc in his back forced the 29-year-old to undergo surgery.

"[Spezza] gives us more depth," coach Paul MacLean said. "He's a legitimate No. 1 center."

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Posted On Wednesday, 05.08.2013 / 3:53 PM

By Erin Nicks -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - Canadiens-Senators series blog

Senators to have full lineup available for Game 5

OTTAWA -- The Ottawa Senators held an optional skate Wednesday before departing for Montreal. The Senators lead the Montreal Canadiens 3-1 in their Eastern Conference Quarterfinal series, with Game 5 set for Thursday (7 p.m. ET, CNBC, CBC, RDS).

Daniel Alfredsson and Milan Michalek did not participate in the practice, but coach Paul MacLean said that all players who played in Game 4 would be available for Game 5.

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Posted On Tuesday, 05.07.2013 / 8:31 PM

By Erin Nicks -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - Canadiens-Senators series blog

Gryba glad to be making return to lineup

OTTAWA -- Ottawa Senators defenseman Eric Gryba returned to the lineup for Game 4 of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals on Tuesday against the Montreal Canadiens (CNBC, CBC, RDS).

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Posted On Monday, 05.06.2013 / 4:05 PM

By Erin Nicks -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - Canadiens-Senators series blog

Senators won't have Wiercioch in lineup for Game 4

OTTAWA -- Defenseman Patrick Wiercioch, who sustained a lower-body injury in Game 3, will be unavailable for the Ottawa Senators in Game 4 against the Montreal Canadiens on Tuesday (7 p.m. ET, CNBC, CBC, RDS), coach Paul MacLean said following an optional skate Monday.

The Senators lead the Canadiens 2-1 in their Eastern Conference Quarterfinal series following a 6-1 victory Sunday night.

Goaltender Robin Lehner took part in Monday's skate, as well as Guillaume Latendresse, Matt Kassian, Peter Regin, Jim O'Brien, Mike Hoffman, Mark Stone, Andre Benoit, Mike Lundin and Eric Gryba.

Gryba will be eligible to play Tuesday after serving a two-game suspension for a hit on Lars Eller in the series opener.

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Posted On Sunday, 05.05.2013 / 12:13 PM

By Erin Nicks -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - Canadiens-Senators series blog

MacLean insists all players are available

OTTAWA – The Ottawa Senators held a morning skate prior to their Game 3 matchup with the Montreal Canadiens at Scotiabank Place Sunday night (7 p.m. ET, CNBC, CBC, RDS).

Captain Daniel Alfredsson, Milan Michalek and Colin Greening did not participate, but coach Paul MacLean insisted that all players would be made available if needed.

Left wing Cory Conacher could step in for Guillaume Latendresse, while Patrick Wiercioch may replace Andre Benoit on defense. Here's how the lines might look for Sunday:

Milan MichalekKyle TurrisDaniel Alfredsson

Colin GreeningMika ZibanejadJakob Silfverberg

Matt KassianZack SmithChris Neil

Cory ConacherJean-Gabriel PageauErik Condra

Marc MethotErik Karlsson

Chris PhillipsSergei Gonchar

Patrick WierciochAndre Benoit

Craig Anderson

Robin Lehner

Injured: Jason Spezza, Mike Hoffman

Scratches: Mike Lundin, Peter Regin, Jim O'Brien, Guillaume Latendresse, Andre Benoit, Mark Stone

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Posted On Sunday, 05.05.2013 / 11:59 AM

By Erin Nicks -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - Canadiens-Senators series blog

Power-play woes continue to confound Senators

OTTAWA – An anemic power play has been a thorn in the side of the Ottawa Senators for some time. Now, as the Senators to prepare to face the Montreal Canadiens in Game 3 of their Eastern Conference Quarterfinals series Saturday night (7 p.m. ET, CNBC, CBC, RDS), the team and its coach were forced to address the issue yet again. .

"It's no secret; we're going to try and get shots and bodies in front," team captain Daniel Alfredsson said. "We've had a couple of good looks on and off, but it hasn't been consistent and I believe, especially on the road, it's even more important to have the power play give you a spark. [In Game 2] we had our chances right before the [Canadiens] scored in the second period, and if we had scored there, it could have been the difference in the game."

But that spark never came, leading to more of the same for the Senators this season. During the final eight regular-season games, Ottawa went 2-for-29 on the man advantage -- the Senators were 25-for-157 for the season, leaving it tied with the New Jersey Devils for 20th in the League with a 15.9 percentage rating.

Through two postseason games, the Senators have had nine shots during six power plays. The penalty kill of the Canadiens finished No. 23, in the regular season, with zero shorthanded goals. However, in addition to the lack of power-play success, Ottawa has also faced seven shorthanded shots from Montreal so far in the series. When coach Paul MacLean was confronted with the opinion that his power play has been "horrific", MacLean was forced to agree.

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Posted On Saturday, 05.04.2013 / 3:02 PM

By Erin Nicks -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - Canadiens-Senators series blog

MacLean responds: 'I might be husky, but I'm not fat'

OTTAWA -- In what was easily Paul MacLean's most entertaining press conference since he became the coach of the Ottawa Senators, MacLean addressed the status of Jason Spezza, his line combinations and recent comments by Montreal Canadiens forward Brandon Prust after Ottawa's optional practice Saturday afternoon.

The Senators square off against the Montreal Canadiens in Game 3 of their Eastern Conference Quarterfinals series Sunday at Scotiabank Place (7 p.m. ET, CNBC, CBC, RDS).

MacLean said Spezza, who has been recovering from surgery to repair a herniated disc sustained on Jan. 27, took a "public skate" Saturday morning but is no closer to entering the lineup.

Kyle Turris, who has been serving as the Senators' first-line center since Spezza's injury, has been moved around several times in the postseason lineup. In Game 2, Jean-Gabriel Pageau saw time on the top line, leading some media to wonder if MacLean was unhappy with Turris' performance.

"Kyle's had a tremendous season, and he's played hard in the playoffs," MacLean said. "A lot of times, when we move him around, it's to get a different look for him and against a different set of defensemen. If they're playing their best guys against them, maybe we put him against their next-best guys. Those are the types of things we’re doing to generate offense."

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Posted On Tuesday, 04.30.2013 / 4:15 PM

By Erin Nicks -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - Canadiens-Senators series blog

Senators' Michalek, Phillips given day of rest

OTTAWA -- The Ottawa Senators hit the ice Tuesday for the first time since the end of the regular season, but there were two key pieces missing.

Defenseman Chris Phillips and forward Milan Michalek did not skate, but coach Paul MacLean said the veterans were taking maintenance days and were expected to practice Wednesday in Montreal. Their Eastern Conference Quarterfinal series against the Canadiens starts Thursday at Bell Centre.

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Quote of the Day

This is a big year for us in a lot of ways. You can see Garth and management really trying to find that solution to get us into the playoffs and consistently have that. The pressure is great. You have to enjoy it. It just means there's a great opportunity ahead of you.

— Islanders captain John Tavares