Check out the NHL game notes for tonight's Ottawa-Philadelphia matchup
|Captain Daniel Alfredsson and his teammates are making the trip home to Ottawa later tonight to show their support for assistant coach Luke Richardson and his family (Andre Ringuette/NHLI via Getty Images).
Their week-long journey is about to take an unexpected detour.
But it is one the Ottawa Senators feel compelled to make.
Following tonight's game against the Flyers at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, the Senators will return to Ottawa instead of carrying on to Raleigh, N.C., for the next stop on their four-game road trip. That flight is being delayed until Wednesday, so the Senators can attend the Celebration of Life service that morning at Scotiabank Place for Daron Richardson, the 14-year-old daughter of assistant coach Luke Richardson, who died tragically on the weekend.
"To a man, (we thought) it was the right thing to do," captain Daniel Alfredsson
said of the team's decision to return home to show their support for the Richardson family. "We want to be there for their family and help them out in any way we can. As far as the road trip goes, we'll just take it as it comes.
"This is an issue that's more important than the game and I'm sure we'll find enough energy to play that night and I think it might even be a good thing for the team."
The Senators had to obtain National Hockey League permission to travel to Raleigh on the day of the game against the Hurricanes, but that has already been granted. There were certainly no doubts about it in the team's dressing room.
"The players are all for it," said Senators head coach Cory Clouston. "We're a team, we need to show support and to a man, everyone wants to be there tomorrow. We have to realize that hockey is just a game. We do it for a livelihood and we do it for our jobs but in the big scheme of things, there are more important things.
"This is a situation where it definitely is more important for us to be there tomorrow and the service is on Wednesday. We'll have a good game on Wednesday as well ... It's good to get home and see your families and show our support and feelings toward the Richardson family. It's just something we need to do."
"To a man, (we thought) it was the right thing to do. We want to be there for their family and help them out in any way we can. As far as the road trip goes, we'll just take it as it comes. This is an issue that's more important than the game and I'm sure we'll find enough energy to play that night and I think it might even be a good thing for the team." - Daniel Alfredsson
Before then, there is a game to play tonight in Philadelphia against the red-hot Flyers (7 p.m., Rogers Sportsnet, Team 1200), who are 8-0-1 in their last nine outings. For the Senators, it's a matter of turning in the same kind of game that produced a 2-0 shutout of the Bruins in Boston on Saturday night.
"Another good opponent on the road," said Alfredsson. "We know they've scored a lot of goals in the last few games as well. We've got to be good in the neutral zone again. Don't give (the Flyers) the red line easily, so they can just dump it in whenever they want and get their forecheck going. We'll try to slow them down in the neutral zone and have good counter-attacks."
Fresh off his blanking of the Bruins, Brian Elliott will be back between the pipes for the Senators tonight, making his 12th start in 13 games. Clouston said the team's goal in front of their stopper is a simple one.
"We just want to continue to play well," he said. "We're going to need all four lines going. We're playing a lot of hockey in a short period of time, we're playing on the road and it's important for us to make sure that all four lines are contributing. Not necessarily on the scoresheet, but at least creating momentum and being solid defensively."Around the boards
Even if he wasn't coming off a shutout performance, Elliott had to be an obvious choice to start in goal tonight. The former Wisconsin Badgers star has a 4-0-0 career record against the Flyers, with a 0.84 goals-against average, .969 save percentage and two shutouts ... Forward Alex Kovalev enters tonight's game two points shy of 1,000 for his career ... The Senators road trip concludes with games Wednesday in Raleigh, N.C. (7 p.m., TSN2, Team 1200) and Friday in St. Louis (8 p.m., Rogers Sportsnet East, Team 1200).