OTTAWA - At various points this season, Ottawa rookies Mike Hoffman, Curtis Lazar and Mark Stone have spent time in the press box watching their teammates play.
All three are back on the ice now and they're making a good impression.
Already dubbed the "The Kids Line" after their debut performance as a trio Thursday, Stone scored the opening goal in a 5-4 shootout loss to Chicago and Lazar added an assist. It was a productive night for the Senators' freshmen, who combined for eight shots on goal and were used on the penalty kill as well.
"I thought their play was energized," said head coach Paul MacLean. "They initiated a forecheck and hung on to pucks and I thought they had themselves a game."
All three are looking to make a strong impression and earn a regular spot in the lineup. Individually they have all looked good and as a line they gave the Senators added depth.
Lazar, 19, can play just two more games before a decision needs to be made on whether or not he sticks with the Senators or gets returned to the WHL's Edmonton Oil Kings.
"That final determination is going to be based on numbers and the business and we'll see where it goes from there," said MacLean. "We'll make a final determination what's going to be best for him and the team."
Lazar, who has played both right wing and centre, is hoping he has impressed the team's brass over his early audition.
"I think I've been pretty good so far and shown that versatility," Lazar said after Friday's practice. "(Thursday) night I felt really good playing centre ??? I want to build off that performance."
After playing 25 games for the Senators last season, Hoffman is looking to become an NHL regular. The 24-year-old is known for his speed and has shown an ability to score in the AHL, but he has yet to prove he can be an NHL regular.
Hoffman has one goal and one assist over six games. He would need to clear waivers in order to be sent to Binghamton and the feeling is he would likely get picked up if the Senators exercised that option.
Stone, meanwhile, has four points (2-2) over eight games and is on a two-way entry-level contract. He could get caught in a numbers game as the Senators have been carrying two extra forwards.
"We've been in and out of the lineup so we're just excited to try and prove our worth," said Stone. "We're just trying to gain the confidence from coach to put us out there in key situations.
"We know we can play in this league, we know that we can match up well so we're just trying to gain confidence together and gain chemistry."
The Senators play the Boston Bruins on Saturday and the trio are hoping they'll play together again. All indications point that way, as the line was kept intact at practice.
Notes: Defencemen Erik Karlsson and Chris Phillips were given the day off. ... Blue-liner Mark Borowiecki did not skate and will not travel to Boston with the team. ... MacLean did not name his starting goaltender for Saturday's game. Netminder Robin Lehner was back on the ice after missing Thursday's game for the birth of his first child. Lehner and his wife welcomed son Lennox Lehner and all are doing well. Lehner said he watched the game from the hospital room. ... The Senators also announced Friday that forward Bobby Ryan has purchased a private suite for the next eight seasons as part of a charity initiative. The suite will be known as Bobby Ryan's All-Star kids and will be used exclusively this season by children from the Children's Hospital for Eastern Ontario (CHEO).