Get set for tonight's 7 p.m. start at Madison Square Garden with some pre-game notes on the Sens' projected line-up, a few injury updates and more...
The injury bug has hit the Senators pretty hard the past two weeks and, in case you missed it yesterday, Ottawa will be without Scott Sabourin and Logan Brown after the pair were placed on IR after suffering injuries against the Bruins on Saturday.
Sabourin suffered a fractured nose on a scary play in the neutral zone that required him to be taken to a Boston-area hospital for further evaluation but Sens general manager Pierre Dorion passed along some good news yesterday that Sabourin would be returning to Ottawa to continue his recovery.
"He's a big part of this team…the guys love him. You can see how emotional some of the guys were," said head coach D.J. Smith about the loss of Sabourin. "It's a real unfortunate situation but we're glad to hear he's ok."
After a few strong games since being recalled from Belleville, Brown is currently listed as week-to-week with an upper body injury and becomes the team's third centre to be sidelined this season.
"He's been playing great," Smith said of Brown's recent on-ice contributions. "He makes plays and he's shown that he's taken a step. He wants to be in the NHL and he can be here. It's unfortunate but we don't think he'll be out very long."
Brown now joins centres Colin White and Artem Anisimov, who joined the Senators in New York today (more on that below), on the injured reserve list and Smith now has the difficult task of replacing three key cogs down the middle.
"You don't want to say that you want one guy injured more than another but when you get injuries at centre, it's tough," said the coach. "It's a position that's hard to fill, especially when you lose three of your main guys (…) but there's nothing you can do. All you can do is give an opportunity to someone else."
A few changes to tonight's line-up as a result of the aforementioned injuries and that's the return of a pair of veterans. The coach confirmed today that both Bobby Ryan and Mikkel Boedker are expected to check back in tonight against New York to help fill the vacancies left by Sabourin and Brown.
Anisimov took the ice this morning for the Sens' optional skate and won't be available tonight, but could potentially return tomorrow against the Islanders, which still leaves the Senators a little thin down the middle. Jean-Gabriel Pageau will likely move up to pivot the top line with Brady Tkcahuk and Anthony Duclair while Vladislav Namestnikov moves from the wing to centre and will be flanked by Ryan and Boedker.
Video: OTT @ NYR | Coach pre-game Media
It was an optional skate in New York this morning but here's a look at how the lines and pairings looked at yesterday's practice:
Tkachuk - Pageau - Duclair
Paul - Tierney - C. Brown
Boedker - Namestnikov - Ryan
Chlapik - Beaudin - Ennis
Chabot - Zaitsev
Brannstrom - Hainsey
Borowiecki - DeMelo
Anders Nilsson (1-3-1) gets the start in goal for the Senators tonight and will be looking to bounce back after surrendering 4 goals to the Islanders in his last appearance. Nilsson has been steady to start 2019-20 and currently sports a .919 save percentage in 5 games played.
He'll also look a little different tonight as it's expected he'll rock his new Sens-themed goalie mask tonight that features a very cool colour scheme on the cage.
"I wanted to do it on both helmets," Nisson said about the cage design on his latest helmet. "I decided to go with the two-tone painted cage and I wanted to see what it would look like in real life. It turned out great. It's a huge gamechanger for the whole helmet and makes everything look a little cooler."
Here's a closer look at Nilsson's latest mask:
Where to watch
Puck drop is set for a little after 7 p.m. tonight at MSG and here's how you can catch all the action between the Sens and Rangers...
BROADCAST: TSN5, RDS
RADIO: TSN 1200, 94,5 Unique FM
In need of a spot to catch tonight's game? Well if you want to make it it more lively, why not grab a crew and head to any of the Royal Oak's in the city and you can find Molson Canadian and half priced wings on all Senators game days.