No morning skate for the Blue Jackets today in the Canadian capital after arriving late last night. They’ll rest up this afternoon and head to nearby Kanata and the Canadian Tire Centre tonight for a matchup against the Ottawa Senators.
It’s the first meeting between these two teams since Oct. 28 at Nationwide Arena, when the Blue Jackets were coming off their California trip and were not sharp at the start. It was the beginning of a prolonged skid for Columbus and a stretch of the season they’d like to forget, and tonight represents a chance to exact a little payback on a team that’s had its number this season.
The Senators won the first meeting, as well, an Oct. 17 tilt at Canadian Tire Centre that had its share of twists and turns. Ottawa led 2-0 into the second period but the Blue Jackets scored two quick ones - including a great one-timer from David Savard through traffic - to pull even at 2-2, but a Mike Hoffman backhander in the third period broke the tie and earned two points for the Senators.
Ottawa has faded after a quick start to its season but, like the Blue Jackets, is in a desperate and win-at-all-costs position as the games tick away.
“They did it (Friday), now, can we do it again?” Blue Jackets coach Todd Richards said last night. “It was a pretty good three periods of hockey. (Tonight) is going to be a big game for them and a big game for us, too, but can we do it again?”
NEXT MAN UP, ONCE AGAIN
Both Ryan Murray and James Wisniewski were injured in last night's win over St. Louis. Murray left the game in the second period with a lower body injury and did not return, while Wisniewski suffered a lower body injury late in the game, Richards confirmed this afternoon in Ottawa.
As a result, Dalton Prout and Cody Goloubefwill draw into the lineup tonight. Curtis McElhinney makes his second straight start in goal.
Richards also confirmed new-look defense pairs to Bob McElligott pre-game. Here's the shuffled deck: Tyutin-Goloubef, Connauton-Prout, Johnson-Savard.
CHANGES FOR OTTAWA
The Senators skated this morning at Canadian Tire Centre and they’ll have some lineup changes ahead of tonight’s game, as well. Defenseman Chris Phillips, who recently set a Senators franchise record by playing in his 1,179th game, will not play and Mark Borowiecki will dress in his place.
Robin Lehner will start between the pipes and Alex Chiasson - acquired by Ottawa in the Jason Spezza trade with Dallas this summer - returns to the lineup against the Blue Jackets.
Senators coach Dave Cameron didn’t see the Blue Jackets’ 7-1 win over St. Louis last night but one look at the game sheet told him what he needed to know.
“Whether it's a real good game or a real bad game, the only thing you take from those games is whatever helps make you better,” Cameron said this morning. “I didn't see the game yet but I think they had 33 shots and seven goals, so obviously, they had some good looks and some puck luck I would think. Good execution.”