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Gameday Journal presented by Monarch Homes: Game 13 — Islanders vs. Senators

by Chris Lund / Ottawa Senators

4:40 PM: Gord Wilson gets you set for tonight's game with the best game preview in the business.

3:30 PM: Today's Gameday Goodie catches up with Zack Smith who made his NHL debut against the Islanders. Take a look...

2:30 PM: Erik Karlsson spoke to the media prior to tonight's game against the Islanders. He discussed playing next to Chris Phillips, his game and the team as a whole. Here's what he had to say...

On playing with Chris Phillips:

Not very different I would say. I've playing with Philly before and I don't think it'll change that much. We both kind of play pretty much the same way we always did.

On the pairing switches:

I just think we need to change a few things. All of the D pairings changed and I don't think it was because of a certain reason.

On if there is a bad vibe in the room:

No I think we have a great room and great guys, even though we're having a tough time right now I don't think that'll bring us down. We've got to stay positive, we've got to be here every day and if you're not having fun things will turn south even fast.

On his comfort level:

I've got a few games under the belt this season now and it's feeling better and better every day. That's the way I want to feel. Hopefully going forward it's just going to get better.

On if D pairings have to build chemistry as well:

I think I've played with Philly before and I've had no problems with it. I don't think it's going to change my game or his game in any way and, you know, we've just got to go out there and be the best players we can be.

On what Phillips brings:

I like Philly, I like playing with Philly. He's been around for a long time and he knows what to do out there. He'll battle hard for you and be there for you when you screw up and that's a D partner you always value highly and, as I said, I like playing with him.

On getting past October:

It was a tough month for us, it's a tough challenge and it's nice to have it over with but at the same time now we've seen a lot of good teams, we know what to expect to if we want to compete. That's how good we're going to have to be going forward and it's going to be nice to be home for a bit and play in front of the home crowd and sleep in your own bed.

On if they need to re-think their approach:

I just think we're going to have to stay positive and move forward and try and get better every day. Even though we haven't played the way we want we still know we can and we've just got to find a way to get our game back. As of right now we're struggling in some areas and we know what we have to fix, it's just a matter of fixing it.

1:15 PM: Here are tonight's projected lineups for the Sens and Islanders...

Ottawa Senators


Conacher - Spezza - Neil

MacArthur - Turris - Ryan

Michalek - Smith - Zibanejad

Greening - Grant - Condra


Phillips - Karlsson

Wiercioch - Methot

Cowen - Gryba




New York Islanders


Vanek - Tavares- Okposo

Bouchard - Nielsen - Bailey

Grabner - Regin - Clutterbuck

Martin - Cizikas - McDonald


MacDonald - Hamonic

Donovan - Martinek

Hickey - Carkner




12:30 PM: Robin Lehner will get the start in goal for the Sens tonight. In four career games vs. the Islanders, he has posted a 2-1-1 record with a 2.42 GAA and a .920 save percentage. Here's what he had to say ahead of tonight's game...

On today as an opportunity:

We just need to focus to get a win here, we need a win desperately in this locker room right now and it's just one game at a time right now.

On the one game at a time approach:

I thought I played pretty well the last two games out west. I didn't play the game after that either, that's not how it works right now. I'll get my game and do the best I can. We have a starting goalie in Craig and that's the way it is.

On what they have to do to win:

Just play our game.

On what "play our game" means:

Well, we kind of have to start looking a little bit to last year at what we did to be successful. We worked very hard, we played a very hard game, we dumped a lot of pucks, we had a lot of hits. Our cycle put up a lot, we threw pucks at the net and we were good in front of both nets. The battle was there the whole game. I think right now if we let in a goal we're changing our game, we're switching up to start chasing. Last year it didn't matter. If we were down two goals we kept playing the same way, we didn't change. We felt like we were a little fragile the last few games, like one mistake kind of turned our game a little bit, we got a little shaky. We've just got to get our confidence back.

On if it's easier said than done to play simple:

Yeah it is, because sometimes players feel like they have more time and they want to do something extra. It has been a lot of words from this team lately and I think we need to just have a good game. There's nothing more to it.

On if his success vs the Islanders means anything:

No, I think our team has had success against the Islanders but, you know, we're a new team this year. You've got to scratch everything I think. We've just got to go back to basics and do it.

11:30 AM: Sens head coach Paul MacLean had his usual media availability after today's morning skate. Here's what he had to say...

On what has gone wrong to this point:

Execution. We play too much in our own zone so faceoff circle and execution, turnovers in the neutral zone are issues we've had to-date.

On if there's a "method to his madness" with line changes:

I didn't realize it was madness. I considered it to be a search to find something that's going to work and find a solution to how our team plays.

On the Islanders:

They're a good team. Tavares is a good player, the forward group I think is very good, the defence has good mobility, they're a really good skating team and they work hard. It's going to be a big challenge for us, but we feel like we've taken some steps to get better. The start of the game is going to be important for us.

On if he has any Movember advice:

Use good fertilizer… Molson Canadian works for me.

9:45 AM: We've turned a page on the calendar and, as a result, the Sens are buckling up for a month loaded with home games beginning tonight when they take on the New York Islanders.

The Isles have played the majority of their games at home to start this season as they have earned a 4-5-3 record to this point, with a 2-2-0 mark away from Long Island. This will be their second game against a team from the Atlantic division.

The Sens will have their morning skate at 10:15 AM at Canadian Tire Centre and I'll have plenty of updates to follow including, but not limited to, lineup changes, players' thoughts on tonight's game, Sens TV updates, Instagram goodness and more.

Some of you may notice that this space looks a touch different than it has in the past. That's because Monarch Homes — one of Canada's oldest and most respected homebuilders for nearly a century — has teamed up with Inside the Senate to bring you the Gameday Journal you have come to know and love. ame great content, new great partner.

Stay tuned!

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