Get set for tonight's 7:30 p.m. puck drop against the Blackhawks with some thoughts from Artem Anisimov about facing his former team, the latest on the Sens' projected line-up versus Chicago and more...
Anisimov facing his former team
It's a bit of a homecoming tonight for both Artem Anisimov and former Senator Zack Smith as each will face their old teams for the first time since being traded for one another on July 16th. Anisimov has excelled this year in Ottawa and currently sits tied for 5th in goal scoring for the Sens with 8 in 27 games played this season.
"I really enjoy Ottawa," he said. "It's a great group of guys and I think we're on the right path right now. We haven't been winning games lately but we're starting to play better. We need to keep up the forechecking and if we stick with that it will bring us some wins."
Sens head coach D.J. Smith has leaned on the 31-year-old Russian forward to help mentor some of the younger players on the team this season and Anisimov is currently centering a line with countryman Vladislav Namestnikov and Latvian Rudolfs Balcers which he jokingly called the 'Soviet Union line".
"I like that line," Anisimov said with a smile. "We can talk in our language and nobody on the ice can understand."
Video: OTT@WSH: Anisimov roofs wrist shot from left circle
Anisimov spent the past 4 seasons with the Blackhawks from 2015-19 where he played 291 games and recorded 155 points (77 goals, 78 assists) and admitted that he isn't nervous about facing his former team, something he has experience with having been traded 3 times during his NHL career.
"It's going to be fun," said Anisimov. "It's not the first time I've been traded but the first games like this are always special."
Two quick pieces of line-up info to confirm today and that's the returns of Mark Borowiecki and Nikita Zaitsev on the blueline. The Sens defence corps has been ravaged by injuries over the past 6 weeks so tonight marks the first time Smith will have the bulk of his defencemen healthy at the same time.
"Those guys that have been out have to get right back in it," said the coach earlier today at his pre-game media availability. "It's a hard thing to do in the NHL, to get your groove back, so we'll ease them in appropriately but the other guys have been back long enough now, Hainsey and DeMelo, where they're getting their strides back."
Borowiecki has missed the last two games with a wicked case of the flu while Zaitsev has been absent for the past month with a lower-body injury.
Video: OTT vs. CHI | Coach Pre-game Media
Here's a look at the Sens' projected line-up for tonight:
Tkachuk - Pageau - Brown
Duclair - Tierney - Batherson
Chlapik - White - Ennis
Namestnikov - Anisimov - Balcers
Chabot - Hainsey
Borowiecki - Zaitsev
Reilly - DeMelo
Marcus Hogberg (1-2-4) will make his third consecutive start in goal for the Senators tonight as the coach admitted he's hoping to ride their young netminder as a bit of a reward for his recent play. Despite not locking down a victory during his current stretch, Hogberg has a sparkling .922 sv% over his last 3 appearances and has seen 5 of his last 6 starts need at least overtime to decide a winner. Craig Anderson will be on back-up duty this evening.
If you're coming to the game tonight, here's a quick fashion advisory as the Sens will sport their NHL 100 Classic jerseys against the Blackhawks. The Sens have previously worn their alternates against the Wild, Bruins and Sabres this season and here's a look at the rest of the games that they're expected to don them this year:
- Jan. 16th vs. Vegas
- Jan. 27th vs. New Jersey
- Feb. 4th vs. Anaheim
- Feb. 18th vs. Buffalo
- Mar. 24th vs. Florida
Where to watch
It's a 7:30 p.m. start at Canadian Tire Centre and here's how you can catch all the action between the Sens and Blackhawks...
BROADCAST: TSN5, RDS
RADIO: TSN 1200, 94,5 Unique FM
Can't make it to the rink? We've got the perfect spot for you to catch the Sens game with some friends. Be sure to swing by Jonny Canuck's Bar & Grill where all Molson Canadian products are 25% off during the game.
To find out where our next watch party will be and specials you can enjoy, visit the full schedule click here.