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Gameday Journal: Game 73 - Rangers vs. Senators

by Craig Medaglia / Ottawa Senators

7:00 PM: Here's some crucial information ahead of tonight's game against the Rangers...

Puckdrop: 7:30 p.m.

Jersey: Heritage Black

Television: TSN5, RDS2

Radio: TSN 1200, Unique FM 94,5


3:00 PM: Here's a look at tonight's projected line-ups...

Click to enlarge

RANGERS

Forwards

Chris Kreider – Derek Stepan – Rick Nash

J.T. Miller – Derick Brassard – Mats Zuccarello

Carl Hagelin – Kevin Hayes – Jesper Fast

Tanner Glass – Dominic Moore – James Sheppard

Defence

Keith Yandle – Dan Girardi

Ryan McDonagh – Marc Staal

Matt Hunwick – Dan Boyle

Goaltenders

Cam Talbot

Henrik Lundqvist

Injured: Kevin Klein (arm), Martin St. Louis (knee)


1:45 PM: Get up to speed for tonight's game with the Pre-Game Report courtesy of Sens TV...


12:15 PM: Sens head coach Dave Cameron offered up some pre-game thoughts after the team's optional morning skate...

On line-up changes for tonight:

No. I had to think about it but no. No changes.

On a few of the injured players taking part in today's optional skate:

They've been out before just an optional means we blended them all in now. So they've been out and making their way. That's the next step in rehab, right? How hard you can skate and then the next part is contact.

On Craig Anderson taking some shots in practice today:

Did he take some off his blocker? That's a good sign.

On Anderson's potential return as early as this weekend:

There was talk that he might be able to if he could take some shots off his blocker a couple days before so if he took some today then he's definitely close. So yes, he will then back-up.

On if the Rangers are a different team than the last time the Sens played them in January:

I think it was game 45? They've added some players but teams don't change their style of play for the most part. They're a good team and they added depth. They're a team that a lot of people have picked to win the East and a lot of guys picked to win the Stanley Cup which I think it certainly so. I thought they were pretty good last time so they're probably a little bit better.

On what changes he's seen in Erik Karlsson's play this season:

Less strikeouts. Kept the homeruns going which means less high-risk. I think the biggest thing with Karl is that he realizes that he's got a decent team around him now and he's not trying to do it all himself. He's just letting the game come to him.


#Sens TV also had a chance to talk with Mark Stone who currently sits 3rd in rookie scoring with 51 points in 70 games. You can watch his pre-game comments here...


11:45 AM: Erik Karlsson spoke with the media after today's optional skate about facing the Rangers tonight, burger tossing, potentially getting some of the veterans back...

On tonight's game being a potential first round playoff match-up:

I think they're one of the best teams in the league right now and they're definitely pushing for the first spot in the East. It's always fun playing them and I think we've been playing well against them for a number of years now. It's going to be a good test for us. We still need to keep going the way we are and keep playing well against good teams because these aren't easy games anymore. Tonight is definitely one of those that we want to keep us rolling.

On holding on to a playoff spot versus chasing one down:

If we're going to make it we still have to win games, we know that and we have to keep doing what we've been doing. We haven't made it yet. It's looking good for us but at the same time this is the tough part. We have to hold on to this and keep playing good hockey.

On the message that he and Methot taped for fans:

It's one of those things that's all in good fun but it might also cost us a penalty. The games are so important to us now and one of these days the ref is going to call it on us and that's not going to be good for the team. Hopefully, no one will throw anything on the ice for the remainder of the season.

On the impact that some of the veterans (Anderson, Phillips, Neil) who took part in today's optional skate could have down the stretch:

It's good that they're making progress and they've been out for a while. We've need everybody on this team to do as well as we've been doing. Especially now with maybe getting those guys back it's obviously going to help settle things down.

Looking back at the playoff series against the Rangers from 2012:

It was a fun series. I remember it well. We played great hockey and took it to Game 7 and could've won it.

On facing the Rangers tonight:

Like I said, it's one of those teams we're always excited playing against and we've been playing well against them for a number of years now. It's a good measuring stick for us. It's rough games and it's going to be physical out there. Both teams are going to play for something.


10:45 AM: Pretty decent turnout at today's optional skate...

The #Sens optional morning skate is underway!

A photo posted by Ottawa Senators (@senators) on


8:45 AM: The Ottawa Senators look for their eighth consecutive win tonight as the play host to the New York Rangers on #ThrowbackThursday night. Puck drop is set for 7:30 p.m.

The Sens have been on fire over the past 6 weeks and have amassed a record of 15-1-1 over that period, largely due to the play of rookie netminder Andrew Hammond. Most recently the Sens are coming off a 5-2 win over the San Jose Sharks on Monday night. Mika Zibanejad (x2), Alex Chiasson, Jean-Gabriel Pageau and Mike Hoffman provided the offence for the Sens while the Hamburglar made 29 saves to earn his 14th victory of the season. The Senators now have a record of 37-24-11 and currently sit 8th in the Eastern Conference.

The Rangers travel to Ottawa after a 4-2 loss to the Los Angeles Kings on Tuesday. Mats Zuccarello and Kevin Hayes scored for New York while Cam Talbot turned aside 31 of 35 shots he faced in defeat. The Rangers currently sit tied for second in the Eastern Conference with a record of 46-19-7 and are just 1 point back of the Montreal Canadiens for the league lead.

These teams met back on January 20th, 2015 in New York with the Rangers beating the Sens in overtime by a score of 3-2. You can watch highlights from that game here:

The Sens will hit the ice for their morning skate shortly and I'll have plenty of updates to follow including, but not limited to, lineup changes, players' thoughts, Sens TV videos, Instagram goodness and more.

Stay tuned!

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