|Sergei Gonchar will get a new defensive partner tonight versus the Thrashers. (QMI Agency file photo)
OTTAWA - The Senators will keep their new look on the blueline.
Trying to get better defensive zone coverage and make off-season acquisition Sergei Gonchar comfortable, Senators coach Cory Clouston shuffled his pairings midway through Ottawa's win Friday night over the New Jersey Devils. The new combos will remain tonight as the club tries to create a two-game win streak Monday against the Atlanta Thrashers.
Gonchar will skate with Filip Kuba, while Gonchar’s old partner Chris Phillips is going to be alongside Erik Karlsson. The only duo that is going to stay together is Matt Carkner and Chris Campoli.
Gonchar is minus-16 and hasn't been good.
“He knows he needs to be more responsible defensively,” said Clouston. “Sometimes you get on that snowball and it just starts to spin the wrong way. I thought his last game was better. He had a real tough one (against the Rangers). Everything that could go wrong, did go wrong.”
Pascal Leclaire, who didn’t take part in practice Sunday because of a lower body injury, was on the ice today and will dress as the backup. Goaltender Brian Elliott is going to make the start.
“(Leclaire) responded very well to treatment,” said Clouston. “He’ll be okay.”
The only other change will see winger Ryan Shannon inserted for Bobby Butler. He was sent back to the club’s AHL affiliate in Binghamton on the weekend.
Armed with his .944 save-percentage along with a 9-6-2 record, Ondrej Pavelec will start for the Thrashers.