Get set for tonight's game against the Blue Jackets with the latest news and notes from Columbus on the Sens' projected line-up, starting goaltender and more...
White, Sens seeing early returns on "rebuild"
Even with such a chaotic November schedule, the Sens have an opportunity to extend their season-long winning streak to four games tonight in Columbus. The Sens came into this month with a whopping 16 games over the span of just 29 days and while the standard physical maintenance has played a role in their recent success, Sens forward Colin White pointed to the levity around the team as another big contributing factor.
"We've focused on our recovery and rest and doing the right things away from the rink," said White about the November grind. "The fact that we're having more fun both in and outside the rink helps a lot too."
"If you watch our practices, we're all having a lot of fun which is way different than it has been in the past," he continued. "You can just tell that the mood around the rink is a lot more upbeat and we're having a lot of fun coming together as a team this season."
Video: Tale of the Tape: Colin White
Winners of 5 of their last 6, only the red hot New York Islanders have more regulation wins in their last 10 games (8-0-2) in the Eastern Conference than the Senators (7-3-0). While that may seem surprising to fans across the league, White believes that this team's comradery and work ethic is starting to pay dividends on the scoresheet.
"If you have a team that comes together and works hard in this league, you never know what they can accomplish," White shared. "I think we're doing that right now and we're seeing the benefits of that work ethic on a nightly basis."
Some good (expected) news today from Columbus and that's the return of Nikita Zaitsev following the defender's trip back to Russia over the weekend for personal reasons. Zaitsev missed Friday's contest as a result but Sens head coach D.J. Smith shared that they expected him to be back in time for tonight's game. Well Zaitsev arrived safe and sound yesterday but they still plan to monitor his performance after a grueling weekend of traveling.
"He got in last night at 6 o'clock," said Smith about Zaitsev's return. "If we have to limit his minutes, we will but he's a pretty tough kid. He's in great shape and can play big minutes so I don't foresee there being any problems."
Video: Sens Head Coach D.J. Smith speaks with the media.
The Sens will have one decision still to make before puck drop and that depends on the availability of Cody Goloubef who missed Friday's game with an injury. Max Lajoie, who was recalled to replace Goloubef against the Rangers, is also in the mix to play tonight and Smith shared that he'll wait until after warm-up to make his final decision.
Up front, Mikkel Boedker checks back in on the wing for his first game action since November 5th. Smith praised Boedker's work ethic in practice over the past few weeks which is what has ultimately earned him the chance to crack the game roster again tonight.
"He works every day. It's a tough mix where we're trying to get enough young guys in, especially on that fourth line but then you watch a guy like Boedker that works every single day, said Smith. "He hasn't taken his foot off the gas, he's a true professional and it's wrong to not give him some opportunities here and there."
Max Veronneau will come out of the line-up to make room for Boedker. Here's how the forward lines and defence pairings should look tonight against Columbus:
Tkachuk - L. Brown - Duclair
Paul - Pageau - C. Brown
Ennis - Tierney - White
Chlapik - Beaudin - Boedker
Chabot - Zaitsev
Borowiecki - DeMelo
Lajoie/Goloubef - Hainsey
Craig Anderson (4-7-0) is back in the crease tonight for the Senators and looks to build off last week's superb showing against the Canadiens. Anderson was sharp in Montreal turning aside 35 of the 36 shots he faced en route to a 2-1 overtime victory as his play continues to trend upward this month. He's won 2 of his last 3 starts and has a solid .933 sv% over that span.
Where to watch
It's a 7 p.m. start in Columbus tonight and here's how you can watch all the action between the Sens and Blue Jackets...
BROADCAST: TSN5, RDS
RADIO: TSN 1200, 94,5 Unique FM
Need a spot to catch tonight's game? Then be sure to hit up Sens House where they'll be serving up pitchers of Molson Canadian for $15, buckets of (5) for $25 and nachos for $10 all game long.