It’s hard to believe, but the last time the Carolina Hurricanes played a game in Canada’s capital, empty arena games were still a thing. In fact, it’s been more than three years since the Canes have faced a non-pandemic crowd at Canadian Tire Centre: in November of 2019, 12,276 saw the Senators beat the Canes 4-1. Since then? One game had an official attendance of zero, and the other had 500 in the building — and that’s it. That last game was the final one subject to pandemic attendance restrictions that the Hurricanes have played.
So tonight, the Canes head to Ottawa for the only time this season, into a building where Seth Jarvis and Jalen Chatfield have quite literally never heard more than a handful of opposing fans.
Stefan Noesen, who missed Saturday’s game in Buffalo, did practice yesterday so he is a possibility to play tonight. If he goes, Paul Stastny is likely to sit, as was the plan in Buffalo before Noesen fell ill. Rod Brind’Amour’s line blender was remarkably quiet on Sunday, so if tonight starts how Sunday ended (and assuming Noesen plays), here’s how the Canes will take the ice:
Teuvo Teravainen - Sebastian Aho - Jesse Puljujarvi
Seth Jarvis - Jesperi Kotkaniemi - Martin Necas
Jordan Martinook - Jordan Staal - Jesper Fast
Jack Drury - Derek Stepan - Stefan Noesen
Jaccob Slavin - Brent Burns
Brady Skjei - Brett Pesce
Shayne Gostisbehere - Jalen Chatfield
Injuries and Scratches: Calvin de Haan (healthy), Dylan Coghlan (healthy), Paul Stastny (healthy), Max Pacioretty (LTIR Achilles), Andrei Svechnikov (LTIR knee), Ondrej Kase (LTIR concussion)
Last week when these two teams saw each other, the Senators still harbored a long shot chance at a postseason berth. That’s no longer the case, and while the Senators are in a good position going forward to continue improving and make a deeper playoff push next season, they’re back at square one in net.
Cam Talbot, acquired to be the starter to lead the Sens to the playoffs, has fallen so far down the black hole that he was a healthy scratch on Thursday against Florida - in a season where the Senators have used seven (!) goaltenders. He did get the start two days later when the Sens upset the Lightning, but he’ll be back on the bench tonight with Mads Sogaard getting the call.
Here is how the Sens will line up in their final home game of the season:
Brady Tkachuk - Tim Stützle - Claude Giroux
Alex DeBrincat - Shane Pinto - Drake Batherson
Mathieu Joseph - Mark Kastelic - Patrick Brown
Egor Sokolov - Dylan Gambrell - Julien Gauthier
Jake Sanderson - Artem Zub
Erik Brannstrom - Nick Holden
Tyler Kleven - Jacob Bernard-Docker
Injuries and Scratches: Travis Hamonic (lower body), Austin Watson (lower body), Parker Kelly (knee), Derick Brassard (leg), Thomas Chabot (upper body), Jacob Chychrun (hamstring), Anton Forsberg (IR knee), Josh Norris (IR shoulder)
Referees: Kendrick Nicholson #30, Michael Markovic #31
Linesmen: Andrew Smith #51, Julien Fournier #56