Finally, after a grueling and roller-coaster 6 game road trip, the Ottawa Senators get to play a meaningful game in their newly named arena.
7:30 pm, Canadian Tire Centre
TV: Rogers Sportsnet; RADIO: TSN1200
LAST SEASON MATCHUP
Ottawa swept the 3 game series with the Devils last season, winning twice in the shootout on winning goals from Jakob Silfverberg and Mika Zibanejad. Ben Bishop won both shootout games. The third and final meeting saw Craig Anderson shut out the Devils 2-0 on a winning goal from Jean-Gabriel Pageau, his first career NHL marker.
Ottawa staved off panic in the city with a 4-3 overtime win on the strength of a Jason Spezza natural hat trick and Cory Conacher overtime winner in Phoenix on Tuesday night. That win capped a 6 game road trip where the team finished with a .500 record. New Jersey has been off since a 3-0 loss to the Winnipeg Jets on Sunday night.
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Jaromir Jagr, NJ – In what is probably his last season, Jagr has recorded 2 goals and an assist in 6 games so far. He leads the Devils with a +3 rating. Jagr has 77 points (36G, 41A) in 62 career games against the Senators. He is now with his 7th NHL franchise.
Cory Conacher, OTT – Scored the winning goal in Phoenix, after being moved to the top line with Spezza and Milan Michalek against the Coyotes. The move from the second line to the first line is a plum assignment and if Conacher wants to keep the spot, he needs to do the dirty work on the line.
THREE TOP STORYLINES FOR THE GAME
1. Home Sweet Home – For the first time this season, the Senators will be playing in front of a friendly crowd. Having a .500 record on the road is decent, but the home fans won’t put up with some of the blunders the club made on the road.
2. Marty’s Last Ride? – Martin Brodeur will get the start for the Devils, and with the anticipated platoon situation this could very will be his final start in Ottawa (the Devils are back in April). He has been successful in his career against Ottawa, with a 36-23-3 record, but was in net for all 3 losses last season, going 0-1-2)
3. Coming In Hot: Bobby Ryan had his 3 game goal streak snapped in Phoenix, so Ryan will be looking to start a new one at home in his first game that matters in front of his new hometown fans.
The team looked decent at times, and awful at time during the 6 game season opening road trip. It was a tough trip against some good teams, and this will be in essence the real start to the season. Some players need to step up and return to form, and they know who they are.