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Gameday Journal presented by Monarch Homes: Game 28 — Senators vs. Panthers

by Chris Lund / Ottawa Senators

5:00 PM: Get set for puck drop with Gord Wilson and Sens TV...

4:00 PM: Chris Phillips talks playing 1,100 NHL games as he looks to hit that milestone tonight in Florida.

3:00 PM: Jason Spezza will line up between Clarke MacArthur and Mika Zibanejad to start tonight's game. Here's what the captain had to say on the switch...

On the line combos:

Clarke plays pretty similar to Milo, a speed game up and down the wing, he's got a lot of patience with the puck. There won't be much of a change that way I don't anticipate, but then again we've played three shifts together total so it might take a little bit of time but for the most part I'm looking forward to it and he's playing well right now too…Hopefully it gets us some wins, we're just trying to figure out combinations. We've scored goals, we just haven't won games so we're trying to figure out combinations that can win us more games.

2:30 PM: Marc Methot may draw back into the lineup tonight after a bout with the flu. Here's what he had to say...

2:15 PM: Here are tonight's projected lineups for the Sens and Panthers...

Ottawa Senators


MacArthur - Spezza - Zibanejad

Hoffman - Turris - Ryan

Michalek - Smith - Neil

Conacher - Greening - Condra


Methot - Karlsson

Phillips - Corvo

Cowen - Wiercioch




Florida Panthers


Huberdeau - Bjugstad - Upshall

Bergenheim - Barkov - Boyes

Winchester - Goc - Fleishmann

Hayes - Matthias - Barch


Campbell - Gilbert

Gudbranson - Olsen

Mottau - Weaver




1:15 PM: Here's what Paul MacLean had to say after today's skate ahead of the game in Florida...

On Methot's potential return:

It's positive in that sort, right now I believe he will, but we'll make sure after the warmup. He'll take the rest of the day and make sure his energy is up and his strength is up, but it looks like he'll be back.

On who comes out if Marc returns:

It would be (a game-time decision).

On tonight's starter:

Craig Anderson

On what goes into Anderson starting:

Craig's the number one goaltender, he has played well against them, he has bounced back well after games in the past. We feel he gives us the best chance to win tonight but there are a lot of factors.

On the new lines:

Well I think until they play against the opposition it's hard to evaluate them in practice. It's a little easier to get what you want and orchestrate what you want to have happen when you're playing against the opposition, that's going to be when it tells the most. We'll see how it goes here tonight to start the game and we'll make adjustments if we have to either then or before.

On what he hopes for:

Well, we're still searching for our best team. What's our best group of 12 forwards, our best combination of 12 forwards and six defencemen to give us an opportunity to consistently win. We haven't found that yet so we're still searching for it and we'll continue to search for it until we find it. If this ends up working out we can stay with it but I think we're still searching.

On what he wants from Hoffman:

We just want him to come in and play. We're not expecting Mike Hoffman to come in and change the whole thing and make everything go the right way, that's not going to be because Mike Hoffman is here. He's just a piece of the puzzle like everyone else is. We expect him to come in and do what he does and to be himself. He brings speed and skill, on the forecheck he brings some physicality and he is able to make plays and shoot pucks. We expect him to play well without the puck but we don't — he's not Guy Lafleur…anyone here know who that is?

On tonight's game:

I think it's going to be a difficult game. It's a hard league and sometimes the most difficult opponent is ourselves and we have to find a way to not give the opportunity to the opposition to score goals. It's a game of mistakes, we understand that, we're going to make mistakes, they're going to make mistakes. We've made mistakes that have wound up being fatal way too often and we have to clean that up.

11:45 AM: The Sens have hit the ice in Sunrise...

11:30 AM: Mike Hoffman is slated to make his season debut tonight after leading the Binghamton Senators in scoring through 21 games with 26 points — good for second in the AHL.

Here's what he had to say about yesterday's recall...

On if he's under pressure:

I don't think it has too much to do with pressure, I'm just going to try and help this team out as much as I can and try and get a few wins here.

On what is expected of him:

I haven't spoken to anyone so far but I pretty much know what I've got to do. I've got to come up here, play well, play consistent, produce and play well defensively.

On playing with skilled guys:

I am for sure, it's going to make it a little bit easier for myself. Bobby is a great player and Turry is another great player as well so it'll be interesting to see.

On what he has been working on in Bingo:

Just trying to get better every day. We have a good team down there and it makes it a lot easier on myself when you're surrouned by a lot of good players and we're just trying to, like I said, get better every day and do what we can to do it.

On joining the team's hottest line:

They have been playing well so I think that may make it a little bit easier since they're doing a good job and I'm just trying to come in and help…you can't be thinking about it too much, you've just got to go out there and play.

On if it's a better opportunity for him this year:

Last year when I came up I was put with good players as well. I wouldn't say it's that much better, but it is another time for me to prove myself and I think I'm ready.

On past experience as a benefit:

Definitely, for sure. It's all about confidence playing hockey, if you're confident with the puck and you have a little bit of experience you should be doing alright.

On what has been so successful in Binghamton:

I think it's all about experience and if you're surrounded by good players, I was fortunate to have good linemates down there, and when things are going well it just makes it that much easier on yourself.

On past experience with Turris:

I think skilled guys can usually bond with each other pretty quickly with each other so I don't think there will be too many issues.

On trying to bring offence:

For sure, if I'm going to make it anywhere that's the player I'm going to be. I'm going to do anything I can to try and chip in offensively.

On his confidence at an all-time high:

Yeah, it's my fourth year there now so if you don't have confidence now there's got to be something wrong with you. It's a big part of the game and that's why I've been having success this year so far… I will (bring it to the NHL), for sure.

On joining the team for a Florida road trip:

It's not the worst trip to be on.

On the whirlwind last week:

When I talked to Luke (Richardson) about him giving me the 'C' he said, "You could be here for a week or you could be here for the whole year, we don't know," so he just thought it was time to name someone captain and I was honoured to get that.

On his development as a leader:

Just trying to teach the younger guys. You come through, you go year by year and you know what it's like. It's not easy every day for younger players and they struggle a little bit so it's just trying to help them out and show them the way.

10:45 AM: The Sens have arrived for their morning skate...

10:00 AM: It's gameday in Florida and the Sens have taken their talents to Sunrise, Florida for a date with the Panthers and to get a little more vitamin D into their lives than they were here in overcast Ottawa.

The Sens are coming off of a tough 4-2 loss to the Detroit Red Wings where a lot of things went well, but a trio of bad line changes buried them and a late push wasn't enough to draw even or earn the victory. The Sens defeated the Panthers by a 3-2 score in their lone matchup earlier in November.

The Panthers have continued to struggle since leaving Ottawa and currently own a 7-15-5 record in the Atlantic Division and a 4-6-3 record at home. They have seen some improvement under their new coach Peter Horachek, however, as they've posted a 4-5-1 record in their last 10 games.

The Sens will hit the ice in Florida this morning and I'll have plenty of updates on the way including, but not limited to, lineup changes, players' thoughts on tonight's game, Sens TV updates, Instagram goodness and more.

Stay tuned!

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