The medicine of time, afforded by the All-Star Break, has helped Sebastian Aho get game-ready for tonight’s home test against Ottawa.
Aho will return to the top line, knocking Brock McGinn out as he falls...to the fourth line? Bold move.
Elias Lindholm will stay as a winger on the top line. He replaced Aho on the line after the Finn’s injury against Calgary, quickly scoring two goals. Despite his -2 rating and 4 shots on goal in three games since, Lindholm has provided a physical presence to the top line.
Other than McGinn forcing Phil Di Giuseppe out of the lineup as a healthy scratch, the lines will stay the same as those from the wild 6-5 win in Montreal.
Bill Peters announced after practice that Cam Ward (13-6-2/2.87 GAA/.904 SV) will tend the net tonight. Ward had a less-than-stellar 26-for-31 performance against the Canadiens but he got the W so ¯\_(ツ)_/¯.
And, as you’ve probably seen by now, the Canes are offering lower-bowl seats for everyone in the building tonight. Upper-level ticket holders are being asked to use their normal tickets for admission to the arena, and they will be relocated downstairs once in the building. Here’s what Tom Dundon had to say about the plan on 99.9 earlier this afternoon.
And here is how things looked at the morning skate:
Sebastian Aho - Jordan Staal - Elias Lindholm
Teuvo Teravainen - Victor Rask - Justin Williams
Jeff Skinner - Derek Ryan - Lee Stempniak
Joakim Nordstrom - Marcus Kruger - Brock McGinn
Jaccob Slavin - Brett Pesce
Haydn Fleury - Justin Faulk
Noah Hanifin - Trevor van Riemsdyk
Ottawa (15-23-9) made the blockbuster trade for Matt Duchene earlier this season, but hasn’t seen much since, including a five-game losing streak leading into tonight’s matchup.
The Senators, like the Canes, aren’t very banged up since they return Jean-Gabriel Pageau to the lineup against the Bruins last week.
Mike Condon got the loss in Ottawa’s last game, against Boston, so Craig Anderson (12-16-5/3.20 GAA/.901 SV) will get the call tonight. Both have struggled this season—worse than Darling/Ward, if that’s any relief to Caniacs.
Otherwise, here’s what we saw against the Bruins:
Mike Hoffman - Matt Duchene - Bobby Ryan
Magnus Paajarvi - Derick Brassard - Ryan Dzingel
Zack Smith - Jean-Gabriel Pageau - Tom Pyatt
Alexandre Burrows - Colin White - Chris DiDomenico
Thomas Chabot - Erik Karlsson
Dion Phaneuf - Cody Ceci
Fredrik Claesson - Mark Borowiecki