Upon first glance, it doesn't exactly sound like the place for the Ottawa Senators to kick off their Western Canadian road swing in winning fashion.
The record says the Senators haven't tasted victory at the Scotiabank Saddledome in Calgary since Jan. 9, 2003. But study the history a little more closely, and you'll find that drought only covers a period of four road games against the Flames.
Not that such numbers mean a thing to Paul MacLean heading into tonight's matchup between the teams (9 p.m., Sportsnet East, Team 1200). The Senators head coach has been a much more frequent visitor to the Saddledome, both as a National Hockey League player and, most recently, as an assistant coach with the Detroit Red Wings. And he's got a positive vibe to share about it all with his team.
"For me, it’s just another game," MacLean said following the Senators' pre-game skate earlier today. "I’ve had a lot of success in this building, so there are no demons here for me. I’m not really too worried about that. Our team is just going to get ready to play. We played a real good game in Toronto (a 5-2 win on Saturday night) and we’ve got to make sure we come here tonight and be ready to play and be ready to win."
Both the Senators (8-9-1) and Flames (7-8-1) enter tonight's contest one victory away from climbing back up to the .500 mark. With that thought in mind, Ottawa centre Jason Spezza is counting on an early onslaught from the home side.
"It's just a tough rink," Spezza said when asked about his team's struggles at the Saddledome.
"They’ve got good fans here and it always seems like they come out hard. We've had some good games here, but we haven’t been able to get wins. Hopefully, we can break the goose egg tonight and get our trip started off on the right foot."
The Senators continue their western road swing on Thursday in Edmonton against the rejuvenated Oilers (9:30 p.m., Sportsnet Sens, Team 1200) before closing it out Sunday in Vancouver against the Canucks (9 p.m., Sportsnet East, Team 1200).
"Every point matters," said Senators rookie defenceman Jared Cowen, a native of neighbouring Saskatchewan. "We need every point we can get, especially on this little swing here, to help us out."
Around the boards
No lineup changes for the Senators tonight, meaning blueliner David Rundblad is a healthy scratch for the second straight game. Craig Anderson make the start in goal ... No word yet on when forward Chris Neil (ankle) might see game action again. "He tried to skate yesterday, but it was limited," said MacLean ... Centre Peter Regin (shoulder) is on the trip, but isn't expected to return to lineup anytime soon. "It’s an opportunity for him to be with the team and work with (conditioning coach) Chris Schwarz on his conditioning," said MacLean. "There's no timetable for him to play. It's a chance for him to get back on the ice and get his legs back under him."