Alexei Kovalev is ready to return.
After a one-game hiatus because of a lower body injury, the Senators winger will return to the lineup Saturday against the Florida Panthers at Scotiabank Place. The club hasn’t given any indication what was wrong with Kovalev that he was forced to miss the 4-2 win over Buffalo Friday but maintained he has been dealing with the issue for a while.
“I feel fine,” said Kovalev moments ago. “It was just a precaution. I didn’t want to make it worse. I didn’t feel comfortable before we left for Buffalo. Going into the playoffs I don’t want to make it worse and miss the playoffs. You want to make sure you’re healthy and you are 100%.”
Kovalev’s return means Ryan Shannon will be a healthy scratch.
As expected, goalie Brian Elliott is going to make the start for the Senators. He has won three straight and made 41 saves against the Sabres.
The Senators didn’t skate Saturday morning. Instead, they held a short meeting.
The club has made a complete turnaround.
“Right now we’re getting goaltending, we’re getting timely goals from our special teams and we’re competing hard,” said Senators coach Cory Clouston.
“Our intensity level has risen. We’re playing with a playoff type mentality and I think it has shown with the wins.”
The Panthers will start goalie Tomas Vokoun.