Senators bench Filatov for Wild contest

The Ottawa Senators entered this season hoping young forwards Bobby Butler and Nikita Filatov would help revive a flagging offence.

Senators bench Filatov for Wild contest
Kyle Turris #7 of the Ottawa Senators scores during the shootout against the Pittsburgh Penguins during the game at Consol Energy Center on April 13, 2014 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The Senators defeated the Penguins 3-2 in a shootout. (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)

The Ottawa Senators entered this season hoping young forwards Bobby Butler and Nikita Filatov would help revive a flagging offence.

Three games into the season, both will be watching their colleagues from the press box. Butler will sit his second straight game as a healthy scratch, while Filatov will cede his roster spot to Peter Regin.

Head coach Paul MacLean had a simple answer for why he chose to take Filatov, the team’s flashy reclamation project, out of the lineup this early in the season.

“The other guys have played better,” MacLean said Tuesday morning ahead of his team’s match-up against the Minnesota Wild. “Nikita is making some great strides in the organization in the way that he’s approached it. He’s worked real hard…things haven’t gone good for him, much the same for Bobby Butler. I think he’s still learning how we’re playing the game and the speed we’re playing the game at and it’s kind of affected their offensive play at times.”

Brian Lee will also be a healthy scratch so that David Rundblad can get into his first NHL contest. Lee, who leads all Senators in hits with 10, appears to be caught in a numbers game. While he has been one of the Senators’ more physical and reliable defencemen, the team probably won’t be benching high-paid veterans like Sergei Gonchar and Filip Kuba any time soon.

MacLean said those are the type of players the team is asking to lead the way on a very young squad, and they need to be better.

Here’s how the Senators lined up during the morning skate:

Greening – Spezza – Zibanejad
Michalek – Da Costa – Alfredsson
Foligno – Regin – Neil
Smith – Konopka – Condra

Phillips – Rundblad
Kuba – Karlsson
Cowen – Gonchar

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