BY MATT MARIANI
The Ottawa Senators will be looking to take advantage of a tired and worn down team as they take on the New Jersey Devils Tuesday night at Scotiabank Place.
The Devils are playing their third game in four nights, which included a fight-filled match against the Rangers on Monday.
In Monday’s affair at Madison Square Garden, both the Devils and Rangers started the game with players better known for doing more damage with their fists than on the scoresheet. This lead to three fights right as the puck dropped for the game’s opening faceoff.
When asked about how they will prepare for tonight’s matchup, Zenon Konopka, who will be suiting up for the Sens, said he hoped the Devils will have the same approach to tonight’s game.
“I’m hoping they are going to start the same lineup,” said Konopka.
For Jason Spezza, the night will have a big milestone attached to it: He will be playing in his 600th career game. Spezza will also be playing in his first game since returning from Canadian ski racer and close friend Nick Zoricic’s funeral on Monday.
Senators head coach Paul MacLean expected Spezza to be mentally tough and to be ready to get his game back on track.
“We want him to come out and play well, that’s our expectation for him,” said MacLean.
“We know he’s got a lot going on right now, but everyone goes through a lot during their lives, and I think the most comfortable place to be is around your teammates.”
Ben Bishop will get his seventh straight start for the Sens tonight. For the Devils, Johan Hedberg will be making his 26th start of the season, helping to take some of the workload off No. 1 netminder Martin Brodeur’s shoulders.
Konopka will be replace Bobby Butler in the lineup. Other scratches for the Senators include Kaspars Daugavins and Matt Carkner.
The Devils’ Travis Zajac has resumed skating with the team, but won’t play.