The Sens are in Arizona hunting for their 5th straight win and we've got 5 key things about tonight's game before the puck drops against the Coyotes.
1. Starting Goalies
Mike Condon (17-11-5) gets the call for the Sens on the second half of their back-to-back down south. After being a major reason why the Sens remained in playoff contention from December to February, Condon has moved back into a supporting role to Craig Anderson recently.
At the other end of the rink, it'll be Mike Smith (16-20-6) in goal for the Coyotes. Smith has been incredibly streaky this season and after rattling of wins in 4 of 5 he's since dropped his last starts.
2. Projected line-up
A few changes tonight as both Kyle Turris (finger) and Mark Borowiecki (upper body) won't be in the line-up against Arizona. Neither issue seems to be a long-term thing and it's possible that both return as early as Saturday. So that means that Fredrik Claesson stays in the line-up in place of Borowiecki and Chris DiDomenico checks in for his first career NHL game. DiDomenico is expected to skate on a line with Zack Smith and the birthday boy Ryan Dzingel.
Here's how the forward lines and defence pairings look:
3. Previous meeting
We're going all the way back to October 18th in Ottawa when the Sens scored a touchdown (and kicked the extra point) in a 7-4 win over the Coyotes. Seven different Senators had goals in that game while Mike Hoffman recorded a game high 3 points (0G + 3A) and 8 shots on goal in the victory.
Lots of highlights from that game and you can watch them all here:
Video: Senators offense explodes in huge 7-4 win
4. From the coach
On his lineup for tonight's game against the Coyotes:
We've got some guys that are banged up - no major issues but some guys that would be good for them to take a night off. So I'll take Boroweicki out tonight - not because of his play at all. He's been such a warrior. It's a few nagging things that would benefit from a day off. With a back to back, and again yesterday was a tough one for him, he got into a scrap again, hit so many times and he's gotten another contusion somewhere else. So that's why yesterday morning we were checking on some guys and he was one of them - I think he deserves to have a little moment off there. It's not a healthy scratch, it's more of just to try and take care of something now rather than later. He'll be fine for Saturday.
We'll put Condon in and Claesson will stay in. We'll go with 12 [forwards] with DiDomenico in. He's going to make his debut. Yesterday, Turris wasn't very specific on it so there's no broken finger, there's none of that. It's just something right now that needs a bit more time. We're hopeful for Saturday and very hopeful for Tuesday.
On his expectations for DiDomenico's NHL debut:
For him, it's going to be his first NHL game and he's going to be nervous. He'll know what to do with the puck; he's just got to make sure he knows where he's going defensively. It's like everybody else, paying the price defensively and everything will be fine. Right now, I think him just coming in and making the simple plays will be good enough for today. I'm 100% sure of the plays he can make. When you're nervous and it's your first NHL game - I'm not expecting him to come out there and be a star. If you just contribute by playing a solid game and helping us in our identity…that will be plenty.
On the importance of insolating DiDomenico into the lineup with veterans:
Yeah, but at the same time when I look at our lines we've used a bit in our last games… Turris was there, that was different. We put Smith at center, he was taking face offs anyways when Turris was there. That Kelly line is doing so well; I don't want to touch it right now. Stone's line is getting all of the scoring chances we need and our other line has been terrific with Pyatt, Pageau and Hoffman. I think right now, I'll probably start him with Smith and Dzingel and then we'll see where he fits. With penalties, power plays and all of that, the lines have to change for some moments of the game because of special teams so then I compensate by plugging in some guys here and there. He'll get to play with different guys, but right now on the board I think he'll be with Smith and Dzingel.
It's a bit of a later start as game time is set for 9 p.m. tonight in Glendale. Tune in and catch all the action on TSN5 and RDS2.