We've got 5 things to help you get ready for tonight's tilt against the St. Louis Blues including details on Hockey Talks and DIFD Night at the game.
1. Starting Goalies
Andrew Hammond gets the call in net for the Sens which gives Mike Condon a rare night off. Hammond's last start came way back on December 18th, 2016 against the Islanders where he suffered a high-ankle sprain that would sideline him for nearly two months. He won't be coming in completely cold though as Hammond did get a small portion of Saturday's game in relief against the Sabres.
At the other end of the rink, it looks like Jake Allen will start for the Blues. Allen has started the bulk of the games for St. Louis this season but has struggled at times, compiling an 18-14-3 record to date.
2. Projected line-up
One small change up front for the Sens tonight as Chris Neil returns to action after sitting out the past two games. Curtis Lazar comes out of the line-up to make room.
Here's a look at the forward lines and defence pairings for tonight's game:
3. From the coach
Sens head coach Guy Boucher met with the media this morning and touched on a variety of topics including Andrew Hammond getting the start, Craig Anderson's status and more...
On Hammond getting the start tonight:
After the last game, I already had it in mind [to put Hammond in net] but I wanted to make sure with the goalie coach that he had the 100% okay. We've wanted to give Condon a break, but it was more about when Hammond would be physically ready. We have to play our guys so that we have as many tools sharpened in the tool box. A week from now, if things are not going as planned we need to adjust and be ready. If Hammond never gets a game and later on and has to play many games for whatever reason, I don't think we would have taken the opportunity to sharpen one of our tools. Now he is ready, so he's in.
On Craig Anderson's progress:
We're ready for anything, that's how we've been since day one. We know the circumstances that Anderson has to live with his family and at any moment he could be in or he could be out. But if everything goes accordingly, as it's been very positive for his family, obviously Anderson will have the net and he will have it very, very often.
Bouncing back from last game:
We didn't like our first period in the last game. I didn't like our D-zone which was uncharacteristic for our team. We certainly want those details back today. This is a team that's pushing hard for playoffs, so every one of our games matter.
On facing the Blues:
When there's a coaching change, obviously players react a certain way. I'm sure the team is surging now to do anything they can to make those playoffs. They're in it right now, but like most of the teams, including ourselves, the minute you win one or lose one, your portrait changes and the pressure is on. I think right now they have that urgency from the coach change and where they are at in the standings. Looking at the tapes from the last games they've played, a few things are different but it's still the same players. We don't want to change our game too much. They have big defensemen that box you out so we definitely have to fight to get inside. They've got some forwards that have some skill on their top three lines. They play hard and physical games, especially back with their D's. So that doesn't change because their personnel is the same. One thing I saw that we have to look out for is that they now tend to take off and try and get high and fast, and on their breakouts too so we can't get caught by that. All around, it's the same players with a coach that was there already. I don't think we'll be surprised by how they play…having said that, we need to focus on ourselves. We know about them but it's us. Right now we want to make sure we come out strong in the first period, compete right from the beginning and maintain that for sixty minutes.
Video: Feb 7: Sens vs. Blues - Boucher Pre-game
4. Previous meeting
It was a track meet the last time these two teams faced off back on January 18th, with the Sens outgunning the Blues 6-4 in St. Louis. The Sens had 5 players record multi-point nights including Mike Hoffman and Mark Stone who each notched a pair of goals in the victory.
Check out the full highlights from that game below:
Video: Sens score three in the 3rd to seal 6-4 road win
5. At the game
The Sens Foundation is hosting their Hockey Talks / DIFD Night tonight to continue to raise mental health awareness. To support the initiative fans can text message DIFD to 45678 for a $5 donation with all proceeds from will be directed to the Ottawa Senators Foundation in support of The Youth Services Bureau.
Can't make it to CTC tonight? Catch all the action on TSN5 and RDS2.