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Senators defenseman Ceci to make NHL debut

by Sean Farrell

OTTAWA -- Ottawa Senators defenseman Marc Methot has the flu and will be out of the lineup against the Buffalo Sabres on Thursday.

Ottawa called up defenseman Cody Ceci from the Binghamton Senators of the American Hockey League on an emergency basis. Ceci, a first-round pick (No. 15) in 2012, will make his NHL debut against Buffalo.

The 19-year-old ranks third in scoring in Binghamton with 17 points, including two goals, in 24 games.

"The reports on Cody have been he's been outstanding," Ottawa coach Paul MacLean said after the morning skate at Canadian Tire Centre. "He's been the best player on either team for the last 2-3 weeks, if not a month, and he's been playing the best down there, so he's getting an opportunity to come here for a game and we have an opportunity to see him."

With Eric Gryba drawing into the lineup because of Jared Cowen's two-game suspension, Ottawa will dress four right-handed shooters on defense, including Ceci, Erik Karlsson and Joe Corvo.

Ceci will be paired with veteran Chris Phillips.

"I know in junior hockey and all the way through his development offense has been a strong point, but his all-round game has improved dramatically," Senators general manager Bryan Murray said, "and we just think he can come up here and play, and hopefully he'll help us get the puck out of our own end a little better and he'll defend well enough to be a good NHL defenseman."

Corvo, who will play his 700th NHL game Thursday, will line up on the left side.

Ceci was not on hand for the morning skate, but center Jean-Gabriel Pageau was after he was recalled earlier from Binghamton. The Senators sent forward Mike Hoffman to Binghamton on Wednesday.

Pageau began the season with Ottawa. He had one goal in eight games before he was sent to Binghamton, where he has six goals and 10 assists in 16 games.

"I was just trying to keep things simple and work hard," Pageau said. "When you do that, I've always been told that good things happen. So I was just trying to give everything I had and coach was putting me on the ice, and good things happened."

Cowen will sit out the first game of his two-game suspension for his illegal check to the head of Sabres forward Zemgus Girgensons on Tuesday in Buffalo's 2-1 shootout win at First Niagara Center.

"You know, it's hockey," Girgensons said. "We play the game and whatever happens, I definitely have made dirty hits before in my life too, so it's just how it is."

Sabres coach Ted Nolan said center Cody Hodgson will miss the second leg of the back-to-back games against Ottawa after he got banged-up on Tuesday.

Nolan expects Hodgson will only miss the game Thursday.

"It's one of those mysterious things that happen," Nolan said.

Ville Leino, who was a healthy scratch Tuesday, returns to the lineup.

"Certain players with a certain skill set, they have to play to that level," Nolan said about Leino. "You can't have somebody at an A level to play at a B level. He's got to use the skill set that he has, and the last couple of games he's played OK but not quite good enough."

Here are the projected lineups:


Matt MoulsonTyler EnnisZemgus Girgensons

Marcus FolignoSteve OttDrew Stafford

Luke AdamVille LeinoMatt D'Agostini

John ScottCody McCormickBrian Flynn

Tyler MyersHenrik Tallinder

Christian EhrhoffJamie McBain

Mike WeberMark Pysyk

Ryan Miller

Jhonas Enroth

Scratched: Brayden McNabb

Injured: Cody Hodgson (undisclosed), Alexander Sulzer (undisclosed)


Clarke MacArthurJason SpezzaMika Zibanejad

Cory ConacherKyle TurrisBobby Ryan

Colin GreeningJean-Gabriel PageauChris Neil

Milan MichalekZack SmithErik Condra

Patrick WierciochErik Karlsson

Chris PhillipsCody Ceci

Joe Corvo - Eric Gryba

Craig Anderson

Robin Lehner

Suspended: Jared Cowen

Scratched: Matt Kassian

Injured: Marc Methot (flu)

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