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Gameday Journal: Game 8 ��� Blue Jackets vs. Senators

by Chris Lund / Ottawa Senators

5:00 PM: Here's some crucial information ahead of tonight's game against Columbus...

Jersey: Away White

Television: TSN5, RDS2

Radio: TSN 1200, Unique FM 94,5

Referees: Justin St. Pierre, Paul Devorski

Linesmen: Mark Shewchyk, Don Henderson

4:30 PM: Here are tonight's projected lineups for the Sens and Blue Jackets...

Ottawa Senators

Forwards

MacArthur - Turris - Ryan

Michalek - Zibanejad - Chiasson

Smith - Legwand - Neil

Condra - Lazar - Stone

Defence

Phillips - Karlsson

Cowen - Ceci

Borowiecki - Gryba

Scratches: Greening, Hoffman, Wiercioch

Columbus Blue Jackets

Forwards

Hartnell - Johansen - Atkinson

Tropp - Anisimov - Dano

Wennberg - Letestu - Skille

Boll - Chaput - Cracknell

Defence

Savard - Tyutin

Johnson - Prout

Murray - Wisniewski

Goaltenders

McElhinney

Forsberg

Scratches: Foligno, Erixon, Goloubef

4:00 PM: Mika Zibanejad will be looking to notch his first goal of the season tonight in Columbus. Here's what he had to say about the game...

On playing with Michalek and Chiasson:

That's what we practiced yesterday so it looks like we're going to play together now. I think it's a fun way to play with a lot of speed and Chiasson and Milo like to play together as well. I'm hoping to be able to pick it up a notch.

On the chemistry between them:

It felt pretty good and we got going but changes were made and that happens throughout the season. I'm happy I get a new chance to play with them and find that old chemistry that was there at the beginning of camp.

On if it's difficult to not press too hard:

Of course it is, I would have loved to have a lot more points than I have right now. Sometimes it's going to happen, it's not always going to go your way. I think when the toughest times are coming around, that's when it shows what kind of person you are and how you can battle through that. I know it hasn't gone very well. Not just points, I feel like my game hasn't been where I want it to be. It's a process of getting through that to where I want it to be and not feel bad for yourself or get down on yourself. You've just got to work hard and I've been doing my best to get out of whatever you want to call it. It's going to take its time and I'm going to have to be patient and not stress about it. The more you stress about it the longer it'll happen.

On what he's unhappy with in his game:

I haven't had the puck as much as I'd like to and mostly that's up to me to be able to get the puck out there and skate and I feel like maybe I haven't got to that level. I don't know why, if I knew I would have changed it a long time ago but it's a work in progress. I think it's coming along, I felt pretty good in my legs and speed last game and I think it's coming around and I don't know if it's fair to say the bounces have been with me. Hopefully once will just trickle in and just get going. The first one is big for me to get out of it. It's more hyped now being the first six games of the season. Maybe six games in the middle of the season wouldn't have been as big of a deal. It's always like this, I think about it a lot but it hasn't made me any wiser. I've just got to stop thinking and play.

3:30 PM: Senators forward Curtis Lazar will return to the lineup tonight against the Columbus Blue Jackets. Here's what he had to say about getting back in...

On playing tonight:

It's the National Hockey League and you can't take any breaks. It gets a little exhausting talking about it over and over and I just go out and play. That's what it's all about. The instincts take over. I'm back playing centre again tonight, I'm looking forward to that. I'm a little more comfortable in this league and know where the pressure points are so hopefully I can expand that. I'm playing with a couple of good linemates tonight and I'm just going to take a shift at a time

On working towards the nine game mark:

I'm still kind of living on that edge and I'm not completely comfortable because who knows what's going to happen. I want to be here, I feel like I belong here and I can play at this level but I don't know what the team is thinking. I have to put my best foot forward every time I step on the ice. Whenever that ninth game is I just have to leave it all on the ice and hope for the best.

On if he has been given insight to the team's plans:

Not really, I don't expect that either. I'm just another player in this dressing room and I shouldn't be treated any differently because of my age or experience. I want to learn the way these guys learned. Growing pains are going to happen but go out and play. If I'm going to go out and get the ice time, the best players are going to play and I can be one of those guys.

3:00 PM: Get caught up to speed on tonight's game with the Pre-Game Report courtesy of Sens TV and Gord Wilson.

2:00 PM: Sens TV caught up with Zack Smith after today's morning skate in Columbus. Take a look...

1:30 PM: Senators head coach Paul MacLean spoke to the media after today's optional morning skate in Columbus today. Here's what he had to say...

On the lineup:

Robin is the goalie, Jared Cowen is going to go in for Patrick Wiercioch and Stone and Lazar are going to go in for Hoffman and Greening.

On the changes:

We want to keep everybody playing. Jared has been out for five games and has been working hard at his game and we felt the game tonight gives us an opportunity for him to get in against a good opponent and give us a good game. The other guys is just basically trying to make sure we keep everybody playing. The team speed we think is going to be important tonight and execution with the puck and we think Stone and Lazar give us a good opportunity to control pucks better.

On Cowen:

The biggest thing is when you get started again you keep it simple. You try not to do too much and play within yourself. You don't do things you can't do, you just do what you do. The biggest thing for him is to get the puck moving and to be physical.

On Hoffman:

He did (have a good game against Columbus), he's got good speed and skill, we just felt we needed to get Condra's penalty killing abilities, they're important on the team and we felt that Stone and Curtis are going to give us a better chance.

On Lazar at centre:

I'm not sure if it's an experiment but he has played well at centre and he has played well on the wing as well. He has played centre and we want to get another look at how he is at centre on the road against a difficult opponent, against a good faceoff team and we'll see how he's going to do.

On playing a team for a second time in 10 days:

I suppose it just makes for less work since we have the work done from the previous game but this team is a very good team. They play with good structure, they work hard, they're a difficult opponent. Johansen is obviously a very good player in the League, or at least he is against us, and we know they're difficult. Their work ethic and their structure are going to be a challenge for us and we need to be ready to go.

11:30 AM: The Sens are at Nationwide Arena prepping for tonight's game...

Soccer tennis round two! Mike Hoffman with the header.

A photo posted by Ottawa Senators (@nhlsenators) on

10:00 AM:The Ottawa Senators return to action tonight in Columbus where they will take on the Blue Jackets at Nationwide Arena. Puck drop is set for 7 p.m.

The Sens are coming off of a tough 2-1 loss to the Chicago Blackhawks on Sunday night. Milan Michalek scored the lone Senators goal, a shorthanded tally in the second period, while Craig Anderson turned aside 43 shots from the Blackhawks skaters. The Sens are 4-2-1 to begin their season.

The Blue Jackets have gotten off to a 4-4-0 start to their season and are coming off a 5-2 loss to the Los Angeles Kings on Sunday. They are led up front by Ryan Johansen and Scott Hartnell who have 11 and 10 points respectively this season. Sergei Bobrovsky, the 2013 Vezina Trophy winner, has been the go-to goaltender for Columbus and recorded a 4-4-0 record to this point in the season with a 2.81 goals-against average and a .908 save percentage, but was placed on IR this morning.

The Sens will have their morning skate at 11:30 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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