We take a look at 5 things before the puck drops on tonight's game against the Carolina Hurricanes.
1. Starting Goalies
Surprise, surprise. Another Sens game, another Craig Anderson start. Anderson has started 15 of the team's 20 games this season, including the last 3, and has compiled a record of 10-4-1 in the span. He was also a pivotal factor in the Sens' overtime win against the Hurricanes earlier this month stopping 32 of the 33 shots he faced.
At the other end of the rink, it looks like Cam Ward is in line to start in goal for the Hurricanes tonight. Ward's play has picked up considerably after a slow start and he's won 5 of his last 6 starts for Carolina.
2. #500 for the captain
Tonight's also a pretty big milestone game for Sens captain Erik Karlsson who is set to appear in his 500th NHL game. Earlier this week, Karlsson recorded his 400th NHL point against the Montreal Canadiens which moved him ahead of Radek Bonk for 5th in all-time franchise scoring.
We could talk about his stats and accolades over his first 500 games all day but instead I thought this quote from Guy Boucher this morning did a good job summarizing the captain's evolution:
I still remember watching him at the under-18 in Sweden and he was an underager and he was this big (holds up pinky finger). "My goodness, if they guy had the size, what a player he'd be". You look at him today and you marvel at what he's been able to do. Being able to play that many games in a row without missing many…it says a lot. Especially now when you look at his stats, he's #1 in the league for blocked shots. So he's a guy that's been paying the price and still being able to play all these games in a row. It's pretty impressive.
Sens TV also caught up with the man himself after today's practice and got his thoughts on the milestone...
3. Projected line-up
No changes to the line-up tonight which means that Fredrik Claesson will be the lone scratch for the Sens. Ryan Dzingel, who left last game with a nasty ear injury, is good to go against the Hurricanes.
Here's how the lines and pairing are shaping up.
4. Lazar talk
I spent some time chatting with Curtis Lazar after today's skate since he's had some time to get his legs under him since being recalled from Binghamton. We talk some offensive stuff, some defensive stuff and a little bit about the team's buy-in to Boucher's system...
On wanting to showcase the work he's done on his shot during the off-season:
Obviously when you get into a position to use your shot during a game you want to take advantage of it. If you look at the 2-on-1 last game against Boston, I saw my spot and missed it by just an inch, I mean I had he beat but it probably would have helped being a left-handed shot in that situation but I'm definitely seeing improvements in my shot. Even talking to Craig Anderson about it, it's coming along. Once I get a couple more touches in a game I have no doubt in my mind that the puck is going to start going in.
On finding chemistry among a forward group:
That goes hand-in-hand with our new system and structure that the coaching staff has put in place. For myself, sometimes being in the top 6, sometimes the bottom 6 that all comes along with being versatile and people have seen that over the past couple of years that I am able to play in different roles and situations. Whenever I'm called upon, I'm going to be going and Guy is a firm believer that if you're "going", you're "going" and you're going to be playing. Each and every game you have to prepare for absolutely anything.
On the impact he is seeing from the coaching staff's new system:
If you look at how structured we are in our defensive zone and against a team like the Boston Bruins who are leading the league in shots for and we held them to 20 against. Overall as a team, we knew what each other is going to do on the ice in those situations and it makes Anderson's job a lot easier. It's really cool to see everyone buying in to that because we're ok with grinding out a 2-1 game or a 3-1 game. We're very confident with where we are at right now.
Things kick off at 7 tonight at Canadian Tire Centre and you can catch the game on City. Just a heads up on a broadcast change for tomorrow's game against New York. Check out the tweet below for details on where you can see the Sens take on the Rangers.