FLYERS (6-8-5) at SENATORS (9-5-5)
TV: TVA Sports, CITY, TCN-PH
OTTAWA – Ottawa Senators wing Bobby Ryan, their hottest forward recently, said he expects to play Saturday against the Philadelphia Flyers at Canadian Tire Centre.
Ryan, who has three goals and five assists in his past seven games, was hit into the boards by Columbus Blue Jackets defenseman David Savard and left the game late in the third period Thursday with an undisclosed injury.
“I’m really happy with everything we did over the last 36 hours to prepare for it, so we’ll have another conversation tonight, but the plan is to play," Ryan said. "We’ll see. It was scary for 15, 20 minutes, but once things calmed down it was nice. There’s never an ideal time to be hurt, but when you’re playing OK and feeling good you don’t want that train to stop rolling. It’s a huge relief.”
Ryan was shifted onto the Senators top line Thursday with center Kyle Turris and wing Mike Hoffman, replacing Mark Stone. Ryan had an assist to extend his point streak to seven games, matching his career high.
The Senators are playing the last game of a five-game homestand in which they are 2-0-2.
Craig Anderson, coming off a 25-save shutout against the Blue Jackets on Thursday, will start his fourth straight game for the Senators.
Defenseman Jared Cowen will return to the lineup for the Senators, replacing injured Patrick Wiercioch, who collided with Blue Jackets forward Nick Foligno and left the game Thursday.
The Flyers continue to search for offense. They are last in the NHL with an average of 1.79 goals per game. They have been shut out twice in their past five games.
“It seems like we have this conversation a lot,” Flyers coach Dave Hakstol said of the struggling offense. “We have had this conversation a lot. You just keep with it. You believe in what you are doing and our group does. Just go out and work as hard as you can.
“I’ve seen a lot of strange bounces around the net that haven’t gone our way. If a couple of those start going our way, we’ll loosen up a little bit. Until that happens, we just have to work a little harder at it.”
Senators coach Dave Cameron said he hopes it’s at least one more game before the Flyers break out.
“I think playing this Philadelphia Flyers team, it’s like a bees nest,” he said. “I think they’ve got some real offensive guys there that probably aren’t happy with how they’re playing and they’re due. They’re talented. They’re due for a breakout, I just hope it’s not tonight and we have to be aware of that. We’ll have our hands full tonight.”
Steve Mason will start in goal for the Flyers. It will be his fifth straight start, a season high.
Here are the projected lineups:
Brayden Schenn – Claude Giroux – Jakub Voracek
Matt Read – Sean Couturier – Wayne Simmonds
Taylor Leier – Scott Laughton – Sam Gagner
Michael Raffl – Pierre-Edouard Bellemare – Chris VandeVelde
Michael Del Zotto – Radko Gudas
Nick Schultz – Luke Schenn
Brandon Manning – Shayne Gostisbehere
Injured: R.J. Umberger (lower body), Mark Streit (groin), Ryan White (upper body).
Scratched: Evgeny Medvedev, Vincent Lecavalier.
Mike Hoffman– Kyle Turris – Bobby Ryan
Matt Puempel – Mika Zibanejad – Mark Stone
Milan Michalek – Jean-Gabriel Pageau – Alex Chiasson
Curtis Lazar – Zack Smith – Chris Neil
Marc Methot - Erik Karlsson
Jared Cowen - Cody Ceci
Mark Borowiecki – Chris Wideman
Scratched: Shane Prince, Michael Kostka.
Injured: Chris Phillips (back), Clarke MacArthur (concussion), Andrew Hammond (undisclosed), Patrick Wiercioch (undisclosed).
Status report: Cameron said there’s a chance Wiercioch won’t be able to go on the team’s three-game road trip next week, so Kostka was brought up from the Binghamton Senators as insurance as the seventh defenseman Saturday.
Who's hot: Karlsson has five goals and three assists in his past five games.