Morning skate update: Lineup changes likely for Senators

Cory Conacher in and Patrick Wiercioch in? Guillaume Latendresse and Andre Benoit out?

Morning skate update: Lineup changes likely for Senators
Cory Conacher (L) and Guillaume Latendresse (R) wait for a drill as the Ottawa Senators practice at Scotiabank Place in advance of the first round NHL playoff game on Thursday night in Montreal. (Wayne Cuddington / Ottawa Citizen)

Cory Conacher in and Patrick Wiercioch in? Guillaume Latendresse and Andre Benoit out?

The old adage about playoff hockey is that the losing team in the previous game is forced to make changes and Ottawa Senators coach Paul MacLean appears to be leaning towards making couple of moves for Sunday’s Game 3 against the Montreal Canadiens.

While MacLean refused to confirm anything — he said “everybody is available” and claimed the team was considering “game time decisions” —  the words and body language in the dressing room suggested those changes might have already been made.

Pressed on what he wants from Latendresse, MacLean said “competitiveness and physicality.” Interestingly, he used the same words to describe Conacher, who played in Game 1, but sat out Game 2 when heavyweight Matt Kassian played.

It’s entirely possible that MacLean could also have something else up his sleeve. Mark Stone, who joined the team at Sunday’s morning skate following the elimination of the Binghamton Senators from the AHL playoffs last week, could get a look, too. Stone played in Game 5 of the playoffs last spring against the New York Rangers, setting up Jason Spezza for the game opening goal in a 2-0 victory.

Daniel Alfredsson, Milan Michalek and Colin Greening didn’t skate in the morning, raising some eyebrows about their availability for the game.

The biggest news from the Canadiens’ morning skate was the appearance of Brian Gionta. Gionta missed Game 2 with an upper body injury.

Regardless of who plays or doesn’t play for the Senators, there’s little question the Senators need to answer back physically, after being pushed around in Montreal in Game 2.

The Canadiens controlled the boards and took advantage of the Senators’ turnovers to tie the series.

The Senators also need a bounce-back game from defenceman Erik Karlsson, who was outplayed by P.K. Subban in Game 2.

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