The Senators are in St Louis tonight, for a rare road game with the Blues, hoping to shake off the events of the past week and get back to playing winning hockey, or at least competing. The 7-1 loss was expected on Wednesday, but what about the 5-1 loss to Philly and the 6-2 defeat to Vancouver? Now you can definitely argue that those 2 teams are 2 of the best in the NHL, but we still have to do better than that if we want to make the playoffs. By the way, game time is at 8pm, damn central time. By the way, I think I may be the only person in the world who actually likes those jersey's during the Gretzky/Hull era.
So then Sens are really looking to get back to enjoying and playing hockey again. It was reported they were in much better spirits today, so that's a positive. Another HUGE positive is that we've learned that Jaroslav Halak will not be playing tonight. So instead we get backup Ty Conklin, who is pretty decent himself, but no Halak afterall.
The Sens lineup will be the same, which means Brian Elliott is back in net after Wednesday's debacle, and rightfully so, he's earned it so far. No other lineup changes, which means Hale and Lee are still watching from Biz Nasty's 2nd home. Hopefully the Regin-Spezza-Kovalev can be a force for us tonight.
For St Louis, watch out for Erik Johnson. The kid is a BEAST. We don't hear much about him here because of where he happens to play, but make an effort to focus on him tonight and you will see what I mean. He's one of my favorite players in the NHL. He is exactly what we need on our backend.
Milestone Alert: The big one of course is Alexei Kovalev can register his 1000th career point tonight. Will he do so? Who knows. If he does, him and Alfie will become just the 3rd teammates to do it in the same season. Also Ryan Shannon is playing in his 200th career NHL game.
Local Flavor: Sadly, the Blues don't have any former Sens or guys from the Ottawa area, though they do have many ex Leafs, but we won't get into that. The most interesting tie in with the Sens, is that when they original Sens team left Ottawa in the mid 1900's, they moved to St Louis, to become the Eagles.
Prediction: I have no clue what to expect in this one. It really depends if they're all able to focus on hockey, or if a part of them is still worrying about the Richardson family. Part of me thinks no way they can be over it yet, but another part says they are pro's and they have a job to do. So which one will it be? Your guess is as good as mine, but the Sens have not lost to the Blues since 2001-02, going 5-0-1, so I'm going to say the Sens play a scrappy road game and pull this one out in an ugly affair 3-2 and Kovalev gets his 1000th as well.
Thoughts on tonights game?