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At the Rink: Islanders at Senators

by Arpon Basu

OTTAWA -- The Ottawa Senators will be getting more than Daniel Alfredsson back in uniform Thursday.

Defenseman Marc Methot will make his season debut against the New York Islanders at Canadian Tire Centre. Defenseman Patrick Wiercioch (muscle strain) was placed on injured reserve.

Methot has missed the entire season with a leg injury.

Senators coach Paul MacLean said forward Bobby Ryan, who has missed the past two games with a broken finger, could return to the lineup, but the onus will be on Ryan to give an honest assessment of his ability to be effective.

"If he can't be the player Bobby Ryan is then he shouldn't be out there," MacLean said. "If he says he's ready to play he has to be able to shoot the puck to the back of the net."

Alfredsson, who announced his retirement at a ceremony Thursday morning, will takepart in the warm-up as his final send-off in front of the Ottawa fans who cheered him for 17 seasons in the Canadian capital.

With two players having their availability assessed based on their performance in warm-ups and with Alfredsson having signed a one-day ceremonial agreement to retire as a Senator, MacLean was asked what would happen if Alfredsson had a strong skate prior to the game.

"I guess we'll have to put him in," MacLean said. "We know he's going to warm up well."

Alfredsson will get dressed for the warm-up in the Senators dressing room in his old stall, situated between Kyle Turris and David Legwand. Clarke MacArthur surrendered his spot in the locker room for the occasion and was given one in the corner of the room, next to injured goaltender Robin Lehner.

"They asked me if I would move. Obviously I'll move. Put me in the trash can," MacArthur said. "It's his spot. It's going to be a pretty cool night. It's cool to experience it. He'll be getting dressed with us and going out for warmups. Other guys have played with him; I haven't, but it'll be cool."

MacArthur, however, wasn’t aware of where he would be moved to make room for Alfredsson.

"I didn't know they were moving me to storage locker B," he joked.

For the Islanders, goaltender Jaroslav Halak will attempt to set a New York record for consecutive wins by a goalie. Halak tied the record set by Billy Smith when he and the Islanders beat the Senators 3-2 in overtime at home Tuesday.

The Islanders arrived in Ottawa with a defense corps decimated by injury. Johnny Boychuk, Travis Hamonic and Lubomir Visnovsky all are out with various injuries.

Griffin Reinhart, the No. 4 pick in the 2012 NHL Draft, will play his fourth NHL game and his first since he was sent to the American Hockey League after playing the first three games this season with the Islanders.

"The guys that come up to us, whether it's Griffin or anybody else, they have to play with assertiveness, they have to play physical, they have to be able to move their feet, they have to be able to play the style that we want," Islanders coach Jack Capuano said. "To me it's a defense-first mentality. It's having a good stick, it's having a good gap, it's moving the puck. If you do those things you know you have a chance to play for our hockey club. But it can't be a part-time thing; it has to be a full-time thing."

Here are the projected lineups:


Clarke MacArthur - Kyle Turris - Mark Stone

Mike Hoffman - Mika Zibanejad - Alex Chiasson

Erik Condra - David Legwand - Chris Neil

Milan Michalek - Zack Smith - Curtis Lazar

Chris Phillips - Erik Karlsson

Jared Cowen - Cody Ceci

Mark Borowiecki - Eric Gryba

Marc Methot

Craig Anderson

Andrew Hammond

Scratched: Colin Greening

Injured: Bobby Ryan (finger), Robin Lehner (undisclosed), Patrick Wiercioch (muscle strain)


Nikolay Kulemin - John Tavares - Kyle Okposo

Mikhail Grabovski - Frans Nielsen - Josh Bailey

Anders Lee - Brock Nelson - Ryan Strome

Matt Martin - Casey Cizikas - Cal Clutterbuck

Matt Donovan - Nick Leddy

Calvin de HaanGriffin Reinhart

Brian Strait - Thomas Hickey

Jaroslav Halak

Chad Johnson

Scratched: Cory Conacher

Injured: Michael Grabner (lower body), Eric Boulton (lower body), Matt Carkner (back), Johnny Boychuk (upper body), Lubomir Visnovsky (upper body), Travis Hamonic (upper body).

Status report: If Ryan plays he could line up with Zibanejad and Hoffman, bumping Chiasson to the fourth line and knocking Smith out of the lineup, with Lazar moving to center. … The situation is just as fluid with the Islanders with the possibility of Grabner making his season debut. If he plays he could slide into Bailey's spot with Grabovski and Nielsen.

Who’s hot: Turris has a point in each of his past two games. … Halak has a 1.26 goals against average and .948 save percentage during his streak. ... Tavares has five points in his past six games.

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