Lundin ready to go if knee sprain keeps Methot out

Ottawa Senators coach Paul MacLean says there’s “a chance” injured defenceman Marc Methot could be back in the lineup for Thursday’s game against the Boston Bruins.

Ottawa Senators coach Paul MacLean says there’s “a chance” injured defenceman Marc Methot could be back in the lineup for Thursday’s game against the Boston Bruins.

While that’s probably unlikely — it’s believed that Methot suffered a sprained right knee ligament when Brad Boyes of the New York Islanders hit him into the boards during the Senators’ 5-3 win Tuesday — the news appears more positive for the team than what was originally feared. Methot needed to be helped off the ice following the collision.

The Senators didn’t reach down to Binghamton of the American Hockey League to recall a player and if Methot can’t play Thursday, Mike Lundin will return to the lineup after missing the past eight games with a concussion.

“(Methot) saw the trainers today and had treatment and we’ll see how he is (Thursday),” said MacLean. “If he’s good to go or not, we won’t know until Thursday.”

MacLean wouldn’t, however, disclose the nature of the injury.

“At this point, I’m not prepared to say anything. I’ve been wrong a couple of times, already. I’m going to wait until the doctor tells me.”

If he’s out for any length of time, it’s yet another blow for the beleaguered blue line.

“He has been a very consistent and steady player for us since Day One,” said MacLean. “I would agree that he has helped all the (defence) partners that he has played with. He’s a steadying influence, along with (Chris) Phillips and Sergei (Gonchar).”

Patrick Wiercioch labelled him as “underrated” because he tends to make opposition players frustrated due to his ability to win puck battles along the boards. Zack Smith says Methot has capably filled the void left by Jared Cowen, who needed hip surgery. “He’s physical and he’s got that hip check in his arsenal, which is pretty dangerous, too. It’s pretty exciting to think about having Methot and Cowen back in the lineup (next year). Those are two huge guys.”

For everything that the Senators will be missing if Methot is out of the lineup, the Senators have certainly learned how to deal with injuries already.

“You feel for the guy and you feel for the team, but you can’t dwell on injuries,” said Wiercioch. “If we had, we wouldn’t be where we are.”

LEHNER BACK AGAINST THE BRUINS

Goaltender Robin Lehner hopes it will be third time lucky against Boston. Lehner, who has been on the wrong end of a 2-1 overtime loss to the Bruins on Feb. 26 and a 3-2 shootout loss to the Bruins on March 11 — otherwise known as Kaspars Daugavins Shootout Night — will get the start Thursday. While Ben Bishop picked up the win in Tuesday’s 5-3 win over the New York Islanders, a couple of the goals he allowed were weak. “They’re a good team, but we play very hard against them and we seem to do a good job shutting down their top lines,” said Lehner. “The last two games, their top lines haven’t had anything and that’s some big points (for us) and a big key for us is to keep their goal scorers out of the net.” Lehner, now 2-0-4 with a 1.90 goals against average and .946 save percentage, last played in Sunday’s 4-1 win over the Winnipeg Jets.

FINALLY, THE BOUNCES GO SMITH’S WAY

Suddenly, Zack Smith appears to be in the right place at the right time. After Sergei Gonchar broke his stick on a shot attempt early in the third period Tuesday, the puck slid directly to Smith, who was in the faceoff circle. Smith spun around and found the corner of the net past Islanders goaltender Evgeni Nabokov. It was his third goal in seven games, following a 23-game drought to start the season. “It seems like I’ve had 15 empty net opportunities that went off the post or off a skate and I haven’t scored and then those one go in,” said Smith, with a laugh. “You take ‘em as you can get ‘em. I don’t know. The end to end toe drag is what I’m normally known for. It was frustrating for a while. Ask anyone who goes through a scoring slump. You’re just not getting to the right places and you’re not shooting the puck with the confidence you usually do.”

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