The Ottawa Senators conclude a three game road trip with a rare Monday matinee against the New Jersey Devils. It has been a rough road trip, not only with losses on the scoreboard but the devastating loss of Erik Karlsson.
9-3-3, 4th East
TV: Rogers Sportsnet Radio: Team 1200
HEAD TO HEAD
The Senators went 1-2-1 in four meetings last season, with the lone win coming in overtime. Daniel Alfredsson had the OT winner in the victory, while Johan Hedberg beat them twice, one by shutout. Martin Brodeur beat the Sens in the final game of the season. This is the first meeting of the season between the clubs.
Both teams are coming off Saturday losses. The Devils dropped a 5-1 decision to the Islanders on the strength of four points each from John Tavares and Matt Moulson. Johan Hedberg took that loss, so expect Martin Brodeur to start against the Senators. They sit in 4th based on divisional standings, but have the second most points in the East. Ottawa started the post-Karlsson era with a 3-0 loss to Ben Scrivens and the Toronto Maple Leafs.
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Sergei Gonchar, OTT – With Karlsson out of the lineup, Gonchar becomes the de-facto first choice for offense from the blue line. The focus will be on him to quarterback the power play along with playing increased minutes. He led all players on Saturday night with over 27 minutes of ice time.
David Clarkson, NJ – The 28 year old power forward is tied for 4th in goals in the league and has 3 game winners, one off the league lead. The pace he is scoring at right now would be a 54 goal season over 82 games. He scored 30 last year and added 130+ PIMs.
TOP 3 STORYLINES FOR THE GAME
1. Bishop Gets The Nod – It was revealed after the practice on Sunday that Ben Bishop would get the start in New Jersey. After a poor outing in Tampa Bay, Bishop played well in his second start, a 1-0 loss to the Jets. He won’t be able to count on much offensive support so he needs to keep it to one or two goals against to get the Sens a win.
2. Lineup questions – After being a healthy scratch in favor of two player making their NHL debuts, will Colin Greening get back into the lineup, and if so, how will he react? Peter Regin is eligible to come off the IR, and if he is good to go as it has been rumoured, either Derek Grant or Dave Dziurzynski will be returned to Binghamton. Eric Gryba played well on the blue line, but Patrick Wiercioch provides a little more offensive upside from the blue line, so he could draw back in with either Gryba or Andre Benoit coming out.
3. End the slide – The Senators can ill afford to drop any further in the standings, as with the Rangers’ win on Sunday, Ottawa sits 8th in the East. They are only 1 point up on 9th place Tampa Bay, and will have played 2 extra games after today. The psychological affect of falling out of the playoffs could be devastating on top of all they have gone through the last few weeks.
The Senators won the first game ever played in the Prudential Center, with Chris Neil scoring the first goal in the building. The arena hasn’t been kind to the Senators since then, as the good guys have won only 3 of 9 matchups held there.