WINNIPEG -- Several members of the Ottawa Senators had not yet been born when coach Paul MacLean was running up big scoring numbers in the 1980s with the Winnipeg Jets.
The first-year Ottawa coach played 527 games with the Jets between 1981 and 1988 in which he logged 248 goals and 518 points during the high-flying days of the 1980s-era Smythe Division. MacLean later returned to Winnipeg in the late-1990s as a coach with the International League's Kansas City Blades, but tonight's game will mark his first trip into Winnipeg as an NHL coach.
"The time that I spent here with the fans was great," MacLean recalled after Tuesday's morning skate at the MTS Centre.
MacLean expects a fast-skating game from both clubs, who met on Oct. 20 at Ottawa in a 4-1 Senators win.
MacLean's 11-10-2 Senators arrived in Winnipeg fresh off a 4-3 home win over the Carolina Hurricanes on Sunday. They now begin a three-game road swing that continues Thursday night at Dallas. Ottawa is in a run of nine of 10 games away from Scotiabank Place, but the Senators will embark upon a home-heavy December slate beginning next week. Ottawa's previous game on the road was last Friday, a 6-3 thumping at the hands of the Pittsburgh Penguins. The road has caught up to the Senators, who are 4-5-2 this month following a 7-5-0 October opening to their season.
The Senators will be without defenseman Matt Carkner (knee), who has not played this season. Chris Neil (ankle) will miss his eighth game, and Peter Regin (shoulder) will miss his 19th outing.
Here are Ottawa's projected lines and pairings for tonight.
Colin Greening - Jason Spezza - Nikita Filatov
Milan Michalek - Nick Foligno - Daniel Alfredsson
Kaspars Daugavins - Zack Smith - Erik Condra
Jesse Winchester - Zenon Konopka - Bobby Butler
Jared Cowen - Sergei Gonchar
Filip Kuba - Erik Karlsson
Chris Phillips - David Rundblad
Craig Anderson will start in goal for the Senators, with Alex Auld serving as backup.