The Sens are on the road in Philadelphia and we've got 5 key things you should probably know before the puck drops for tonight's game against the Flyers.
1. Starting Goalies
It's once again Craig Anderson's crease tonight for the Sens as he was named the team's starter yesterday by head coach Guy Boucher. Anderson has started 11 of Ottawa's first 15 games this season and sports a 7-3-1 record in those appearances to go along with a sparling .934 save percentage.
At the other end of the rink, Steve Mason will get the start for the Flyers with Michal Neuvirth on the sidelines with an injury. Mason has struggled at times this year and enters tonight's game looking to improve on his 3-5-2 record.
2. Some Bobby talk
Bobby Ryan met with the media yesterday in Ottawa before traveling and spoke at length about the team's offensive struggles. We didn't use all of his scrum in our recap yesterday so I thought it deserved a spot in our Game Day 5...
On the improvements on defence this season:
We needed to get better in that area more so than the offensive side. That will come but if you're bad defensively you have no chance in this league. We recognize that and we started with that from day one. We got a great foundation from camp and we applied it because the start that we're having is because if it. Obviously, the offence isn't doing it. We got away from it the last couple of games at times but at the same time that comes from cheating offensively and we're all trying to do that because we're gripping it so tight. It all plays a part but Guy came in and addressed exactly what needed to be addressed and that was the defensive side of things.
On sacrificing the defensive strategy in an attempt to create offence:
If you let that slide then you're losing games 4-1 and that's not the way we're going to go about things. The power play has to get better and that's on the 10 of us that are out there. Once that gets better, you get some momentum from there and you go. You hope that it becomes something you can build off.
On taking care of the defensive end first:
We're just trying to cut down second and third chances and we haven't done that the past two games. We dropped one of them but at the same time when you are struggling offensively you're going to get opportunities because of what you do in the defensive zone.
On feeling the urge to cheat in and effort to produce offensively:
Every shift. You just want to go offence, right? I can speak for all of us I think, you feel like you're letting everybody down when you're not creating offence, when you're not scoring, when you're not generating momentum…I think we all feel like we're playing in the neutral zone a lot. I got caught cheating against Minnesota the other night and then I got stuck out there for 2 minutes in the defensive zone. You come back to the bench after a shift like that and you hear about it.
3. Projected line-up
Just a few small tweaks to the line-up ahead of tonight's game in Philly starting on defence. Marc Methot, who left Sunday's game against the Wild with an injury, is good to go tonight which means Fredrik Claesson comes out of the line-up to make room. This also has a trickle down effect to the forwards s Matt Puempel, who was scratched last game so the team could dress 7 defenseman, returns to active duty as well. Here's how the lines and pairing are shaping up.
4. From the coach
On pre-scouting tonight's game against the Lightning:
They have a ot of guys that have been together for awhile. It's funny, I'm looking at it and I get some flashbacks from a few years ago. It's still the same guys on it pretty much except maybe for the defence. They've got some good players, obviously Giroux is an outstanding power play guy and Simmonds pays the price at the net so they're a threat because they move it fast but you can see that they're used to each other. The biggest thing for us is to stay out of the penalty box.
We've got ourselves a 7 p.m. start tonight in Philadelphia and you can catch the game on TSN5 and RDS2.