No Alfredsson, no Winchester, but Mark Stone goes to New York with Senators

The Ottawa Senators left for the Big Apple without captain Daniel Alfredsson and Jesse Winchester Friday afternoon.

But the team was also carrying an intriguing new face – Canadian world junior star Mark Stone – as they get set for Game 5 of their best-of-seven series opening round series against the New York Rangers Saturday.

Stone, fresh from a successful junior season with the Brandon Wheat Kings (coincidentally coached by former Senators coach Cory Clouston), saw time on the club’s first power play unit at Friday’s practice.

Senators coach Paul MacLean wasn’t giving anything away, other than saying Stone was one of the team’s options to replace the injured Winchester. Rob Klinkhammer, Kaspars Daugavins and Binghamton Senators call-up Mike Hoffman are the other options.

While there’s great buzz about the potential for Swedish star Jakob Silfverberg to join the team now that he has captured the Swedish Elite League title with Brynas, Senators might be advised to practice some patience.

Senators general manager Bryan Murray is allowing Silfverberg to celebrate with his team in Sweden Friday and Saturday and he is expected to fly into Ottawa on Sunday.

It’s unlikely that Silfverberg, who won the SEL MVP honours in both the regular season and playoffs, would be in any condition to play in Game 6 on Monday.

As for the task at hand, Saturday’s game in New York, the Senators were a confident bunch following practice Friday, believing that the Rangers may be feeling some heat because the series has now been reduced to a best-of-three.

MacLean says the Rangers have more pressure than his team.

“I think for sure,” he said. “They’re the second highest point total team (in the regular season), the best team in the East.”

While he says momentum is on the Senators side thanks to Wednesday’s 3-2 overtime win, he says that can be fleeting.

“Every game is a different beast altogether and it’s just important that we get finished with today before we start getting to tomorrow, but the fact that you won the game before gives you a little bit (of momentum) starting out.”

 

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