We've got some injury updates, details on Matt Duchene's first game in Ottawa as a Senator and more before tonight's 7:30 p.m. start against the Penguins.
1. Injury update
While we wait for the official confirmation from Sens head coach Guy Boucher, a pair of injured players returned to practice yesterday. Both Bobby Ryan and Mark Borowiecki skated with the team at the Bell Sensplex and didn't appear to be hampered by their injuries.
"I'm ready to go," said Borowiecki on Wednesday. "I believe that I'm going to be playing against Pittsburgh and I'm feeling a lot better. I'm just excited to get back around the guys and into some games."
The pair spent the better part of a week rehabbing together while the team was in Sweden and even made the trip to Belleville for a needed change of scenery.
"It was pretty boring with just me and Boro up and down the ice," Ryan said after practice yesterday. "Today was our first real test and I'm happy with where I'm at."
Zack Smith, who dislocated his thumb in Friday's game against the Avalanche, won't suit up against the Penguins and is expected to be sidelined for another 2-3 weeks.
2. Duchene set for home debut
After a whirlwind week that saw him traded and then debut against his former team in Stockholm, Matt Duchene gets ready to take the ice at Canadian Tire Centre as a member of the Senators for the very first time.
"It was a weird experience for me," shared Duchene about his first week as a Senator. "Playing two games with a new team in a rink that I've never been in before was pretty crazy."
Duchene, a native of Haliburton, Ontario, is already enjoying his new team's proximity to his home town and is expected to have a lot of support for his first games in Ottawa.
"My parents are coming down and they're staying through to the weekend. I've got a lot of family and friends coming to Saturday's game so I've been looking forward to these two games for awhile now."
Duchene is expected to start tonight's game on a line with Bobby Ryan and Ryan Dzingel.
3. Gotta get back in time
The Sens had a successful trip abroad last week, leaving Sweden with a pair of wins against Colorado in the NHL Global Series. To help fight jet lag and readjust to the Eastern time zone, they started this week with back-to-back off days before returning to the ice at the Bell Sensplex on Wednesday.
"Actually, it was better than I thought," said Boucher after yesterday's practice. "It was good and the guys were excited. Bobby and Boro are back so it's the closest we've been to having a full line-up with only Smith missing."
While the coach has handled many road trips in the past, he admitted that dealing with such a large travel schedule and crossing so many time zones was new for him.
"I've never had to live what we're living tomorrow. Many times it's the opposite," Boucher shared about managing the team's return from Sweden. "I have no clue how long it should take so we'll see tomorrow."
Video: Nov 15: Coach Practice Media
4. Previous meeting
Oh boy. I thought I was ready for this one but I'm definitely not. These teams last met on May 25, 2017 in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Final where the Senators where eliminated by the eventual Stanley Cup Champions in double overtime. Mark Stone and Ryan Dzingel provided the scoring for Ottawa in defeat and captain Erik Karlsson's phenomenal 2017 playoffs ended with a pair of assists to lead the Sens in post-season scoring with 18 points (2 goals, 16 assists) in 19 games.
If you'd like, here are the full highlights from that game...
Video: OTT Recap: Sens edged by Pens, 3-2, in 2OT of Game 7
5. Where to watch
It feels like forever since the last Sens game so here are the key details for tonight's contest against the Penguins. For starters, there are still a few tickets remaining and with only 6 home games remaining before Christmas you should definitely try to make it out to Canadian Tire Centre for this one. Also, be sure to grab poster series 2 of 4 after the game courtesy of Bell.
Can't come out to the rink? No worries. TSN5 and RDS2 will cover tonight's game starting at 7:30 p.m. along with TSN1200 having the radio call.