Friday, October 17, 2008

Game day: Sens v. Phoenix

Daniel Alfredsson's incredible return from surgery may happen tonight, but el capitano won't make a final decision until after he takes the pre-game warm-up (according to Sportsnet). If he decides against tonight, Nick Foligno will likely line up with Jason Spezza and Dany Heatley (at least for the start of the game). The Sens' other injury update, a foot/ankle injury for Chris Phillips, won't likely keep big rig out of the lineup--although I did see him limping around a fancy Kanata restaurant on Wednesday evening. I'm sure he's good to go.

I'd really like to see coach Craig Hartsburg split Spezza and Heater up, just to see how they respond, but I guess he's not interested in doing so just yet. I think that they could really work well with some of the other depth players on the Sens, something like Heatley with Chris Kelly and Jesse Winchester and Spezza between Nick Foligno and Antoine Vermette. That leaves a killer third line of Mike Fisher, Chris Neil, and Jarkko Ruutu and preserves the underused but effective fourth line of Dean McAmmond, Shean Donovan, and Christoph Schubert. Solid four lines, if you ask me, and only solider (?) whenever Alfie comes back.

Starting in goal will be Martin Gerber, who--despite stopping 38 of 41 shots last Saturday--remains unproven due to a few bad goals in this young season. Ilya Bryzgalov will guard the goal for Phoenix. The 6th Sens made a bold prediction on Brian McGrattan's return to Ottawa (and season debut): that he'll try and show the fans here that he can play by dumping the puck in or getting called on an icing or something. A slapper from the red line. I think he might throw his weight around, but he won't likely get very much ice time.

Although the Senators only ever beat the pre-Phoenix Winnipeg Jets squad once (in four seasons), they've handled the team since they moved: The Sens' record is 10 wins, 4 losses, with one tie, and 56 goals for versus 30 goals against.

Ottawa is, according to, the favourite tonight. We'll see what that means, if anything.
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