The Ottawa Senators continue to shuffle bodies in and out of the lineup.
Number one goaltender Craig Anderson, rookie centre/winger Mika Zibanejad and defenceman Andre Benoit are all scheduled to play in Tuesday night’s game against the New York Islanders, the first game of yet another crucial four-game homestand for the Senators.
Anderson, a tidy 5-0-2 at Scotiabank Place this season, made way for back-up Ben Bishop in Monday’s 2-1 shootout victory over the New Jersey Devils. Zibanajed, who had conversations with the coaching staff about being more involved before sitting out Monday, will take Jim O’Brien’s spot against the Islanders. Benoit will replace Mike Lundin. The Senators would like to see Lundin move the puck quicker.
Where exactly everyone fits will remain a mystery until game time, as the Senators had an optional pre-game skate Tuesday morning.
Meanwhile, the Islanders are also dealing with lineup shuffles and their own injury issues – former Senators defenceman Matt Carkner will not play – as well as an ugly 7-0 loss to the Philadelphia Flyers on Monday.
Evgeni Nabokov, who yielded all seven goals on only 25 shots, will be replaced by Rick DiPietro. DiPietro is 0-2, with a 4.60 goals against average and an .842 save percentage. Against the Senators, DiPietro has a career record of 4-6, with a 3.88 goals against average and .866 save percentage.
The Senators were a more confident bunch Tuesday morning, refreshed by the victory over the Devils and having ended a stretch of more than 137 minutes without a goal since losing Erik Karlsson to season ending Achilles surgery.
“The consistency of our team, the effort over the 60 minutes (was good),” said coach Paul MacLean. “I still didn’t like the start of the game. I think our execution was kind of off – it was a little bit New Jersey, a little bit us – but our execution gets better as the game goes on. We want to make sure we start better, if we can.”