The story surrounding the Sens going into the opening game of their first round series against the Boston Bruins is about the sheer number of players that are set to return from injury. Head coach Guy Boucher has talked all season about this "mythical healthy line-up" and we might finally get a look at it tonight.
Let's start with the projected line-up. First off, there were no line rushes this morning during the team's skate so what we've put together is what we saw yesterday...
These lines are probably likely but it wouldn't be a surprise to see them changed on the fly. You can even see in the coach's speech bubble, there are a pair of game-time decisions coming tonight (one up front and one on the backend) but he wouldn't confirm who he is looking at.
Marc Methot confirmed yesterday that he's ready to return from a serious finger injury he sustained on March 23rd and the coach backed that by confirming that he's good to go for Game #1 but it's entirely possible the team could err on the side of caution here and allow Methot a few more days to fully recover if he's not 100% comfortable during warm-up tonight. If Methot doesn't play, look for Fredrik Claesson to check into the line-up.
Up front, the choice seems to be surrounding Ryan Dzingel who skated in 81 games for the Sens this season. Dzingel was a notable exception from yesterday's forward line rushes but with the recent returns of Clarke MacArthur and now Zack Smith it simply becomes a numbers game. Boucher has praised Dzingel's speed and pace all year but also noted that starting the series with a more playoff experienced line-up could have some benefits.
Here's what the coach had to say about this earlier today:
Methot can play; I've just got to make a decision. I have to go back down and see how his skating went by talking to the therapist. If it was game 7, he'd be playing 100%. It's just now…do we want to give him a few more days? Every day has made a gigantic difference so I just want to make sure I know exactly where it's at before I made my decision. With the forwards, everybody is healthy. So we have a lot of guys that are good to play and I've got to make a hard decision after warm-up.
The Sens also deployed some different looks for their power play units yesterday possibly in an effort to spark it's production. Here's how they looked...
Hoffman - Brassard - Ryan
MacArthur - Karlsson
Burrows - Turris - Stone
Phaneuf - Wideman
Ryan and Burrows were both firmly planted at the top of the crease during these drills while Brassard and Turris tended to float to the slot, opening up some looks from the point and the top of the circle for Karlsson, Hoffman, Phaneuf and Wideman.
No shocker here but Craig Anderson is set to start in goal for Game #1. Anderson is a lifetime 12-14-3 in the post-season but his .933 Sv% in the playoffs probably tells more of the story.
At the other end of the ice, Tuukka Rask starts for the Bruins.