Get ready for tonight's 7:30 p.m. start against the Pittsburgh Penguins with these 5 things...
1. Starting Goalies
Mike Condon, the Penguins all-time franchise leader in goals against (0.00) and save percentage (1.000), gets the start for the Sens tonight against his former club. Granted he only played one period for the Pens back on October 22nd and faced just 7 shots but he's had pretty much the exact opposite workload since joining the Sens at the beginning of November. Condon is set to start his 8th consecutive game and appear in his 17th straight for the Senaors. To put that in to more relative terms, Condon has played in every Sens game since the beginning of December.
At the other end of the rink, it looks like Pittsburgh is getting a bit of a boost with starter Matt Murray set to return from injury. Murray hasn't played since leaving against the Hurricanes on December 28th with a lower-body injury. He's 13-3-1 on the season for the Penguins.
2. Projected line-up
Don't mess with success. After a solid 5-3 win over the Edmonton Oilers this past Sunday, no changes are expected to the line-up tonight which means that Fredrik Claesson will be the lone scratch for the Sens.
Here's how the lines and pairing are shaping up.
3. From the coach
As usual, Sens head coach Guy Boucher's morning media availability is full of good stuff but today I specifically pulled out some of his comments on Mike Hoffman's role and growth this season.
On Hoffman's evolving defensive game:
I can't say that we're there yet but it's definitely way ahead of what it was before and if you look at the history of great players such as Steve Yzerman that's exactly what happened. He was in a situation where he was a 50+ goal scorer and for his team to become a winning team, he became a third liner that was matched against top lines and could play against the better players.
On being matched against the opposition's top lines:
I think Mike has an opportunity now to continue growing in that respect and he did a very good job last game so there will be games...maybe tonight, maybe another night...where he's going to be asked to play that role. It doesn't mean he doesn't attack, he still does his thing and I think he's a great power play specialist. We finally have him in the spot that I had him in Junior. That's how smart I am...I should have done that from the beginning...but Mike and all the younger guys are being asked to play a bigger role on this team and I think that there is room to grow there.
Video: Jan 12: Sens vs. Penguins - Boucher Pre-game
4. Previous meeting
It's not always fun to look back but I feel it's pretty important here. These teams last faced off back on December 5th in Pittsburgh where the Sens dropped a track meet 8-5. Ottawa played a very solid first half with goals from Turris, Karlsson, Stone and Hoffman but saw a 4-2 lead evaporate midway through the second period. Speaking of the Sens captain, EK65 had his best offensive game of the season recording 4 points (1G +3A) in the loss with all of his helpers coming on the man advantage. This game was also Craig Anderson's final appearance of 2016 as he took personal leave to be with his family during his wife Nicholle's cancer treatment.
Full highlights to get you riled up for the rematch...
Video: OTT Recap: Five goals not enough in loss to Pens
5. Where to watch
We've got ourselves a 7:30 p.m. start at Canadian Tire Centre tonight but it's always a good idea to get to the building a little earlier on Throwback Thursday so you can take advantage of some retro pricing. That's right, $1 hot dogs and $1 small Coca-Colas before 7 p.m. so grab some change and get here before the warm-up tonight.
It's also one of those lovely TSN5 and RDS2 nights so if you're planning on watching the game on television that's where it will be.