OTTAWA - A demotion was confirmed, and a promotion announced at the Senators game-day skate this morning as they gear up to face the New York Rangers.
Coach Cory Clouston confirmed what everyone had already figured out -- that Alexei Kovalev will start on the fourth line. Seems it will be up to Kovalev himself to decide how long he stays there.
Clouston told reporters Kovalev will play with Peter Regin and Jesse Winchester to start the game against the New York Rangers as the club tries to get out of its slump.
But, Clouston said Kovalev, who is pointless in five games, has to be more consistent.
“When he plays, he’s very dominant,” said Clouston. “Other nights, he’s not. We need more consistency, not only from him but from the rest of the team ... I’m more concerned with the teammates. They’re the ones working with him and playing with him and sometimes they don’t know which guy is going to show up.”
The promotion is goalie Brian Elliott, who gets a chance to help pull the squad out of its slump. While Pascal Leclaire was the first star Sunday with 25 saves in a 3-1 win at Madison Square Garden, Elliott will make the start against the Rangers as the Senators open a three-game homestand.
Leclaire is still battling a little bit of the flu and Clouston wants to give Elliott the chance to play.
“Brian came off a shutout (in 1-0 shootout loss to the Sabres Saturday),” said Clouston. “It’s a good situation where we’ve got both guys playing well and our guys are confident in both guys.”
Game time tonight is 7:30 p.m., at Scotiabank Place (TV Sportsnet-Sens).