The Utica Comets invade Binghamton for the second time in two weeks and will be looking for their fourth straight win playing their third game in four days while the Senators have been off all week itching to get a win. Utica’s 3-2 win two Saturday’s ago started off a four game skid for the Sens but still hold first place percentage points ahead of the Norfolk Admirals with two games in hand in the East Division. Nathan Lawson looks to get his house in order and get back to the grind after missing some considerable time off as Joe Cannata should get the start for the Comets. The Senators will be without three regular defensemen but will debut two new ones in Patrick Mullen and Alex Grant.
(33-19-1-3) 70 pts
Tied for First in East Division
(25-26-3-4) 57 pts
Third in North Division
A couple of new guys on the blue line as Ottawa made two trades to help benefit the Sens. Mullen and Grant make their debuts tonight as the defense has added some much-needed experience. Andre Petersson was sent packing for the Grant deal as Petey was into his last year of his three-year contract and nowhere to go. The Sens had a log jam of forwards and thin on D-men but that has now leveled off to where it needs to be. It’ll be interesting to see where Luke will insert them as a player or two might be on the bus back to Elmira.
They both had this to say as they chatted with the Press & Sun-Bulletin;
“I just want to be a puck-mover,” Grant said. “Get it up to the forwards. They have a lot of good forwards here.”
“Keep it simple,” Mullen said. “This team is already so good as it is. If I can come in and help out anyway I can, it will make it easier for everyone.”
Mullen has some history against Binghamton dating back to the 2011 Calder Cup season playing for the Manchester Monarchs and leading in the first round three games to one which spelled doom for the B-Sens. However, they would escape some theatrics, including a penalty shot in overtime by Bud Holloway in game six saved by Robin Lehner, and would win the final three games to advance to round two.
Utica comes in playing their third game in four nights as the Senators have been idle all week. Shane Prince was a healthy scratch at St. John’s and it remains a mystery why. He’s had a handful of them this season and I’m hoping it’s not related to his attitude, if he even has one. Hard to speculate at this point, but something isn’t right here surrounding Shane. I guess we’ll never know.
Defenseman Fredrik Claesson will be serving his one game suspension tonight after his check to the head to St. John’s John Albert in the first period in last Friday’s 6-2 loss. Nothing like getting some role minutes early on as great timing for the two new defensemen with three key players out with Danny New and Mark Borowiecki injured.
Players To Watch For
Utica: Forwards Pascal Pelletier (10g 32a 45gms) and Benn Ferriero (17g 20a 50gms), Defenseman Frank Corrado (5g 6a 48gms).
Binghamton: Forward Stephane Da Costa (13g 31a 45gms), Defensemen Mullen (7g 13a 46gms) and A. Grant (7g 20a 52gms).
Sens split both games in Utica but the Comets scored big in Binghamton winning 3-2 on the last Sens home contest.
- Current Percentage of Binghamton reaching the playoffs: 97.5%
- Overall position (out of 100%) : 8th in the league
- Won or loss after last game +/-: -2.2 (L by St. John’s).
Sens Tweet of the Day
Thanks to the Ducks org. for the opportunity, will always remember the first one. Can’t wait to get started with the Senators organization
— Alex Grant (@agrant20) March 6, 2014
Cover photo courtesy of Alicia Strauch.