Little Z will play the wing against Habs
Don Brennan, Ottawa Sun
|Mika Zibanejad. (DARREN BROWN/QMI AGENCY)
MONTREAL - Mika Zibanejad is getting the chance to show the Senators what he can do as a winger.
The first round pick, a natural centre, will play the right flank on a line with Zack Smith and Nikita Filatov in Saturday’s game against the Habs at the Bell Centre.
In his last appearance — the Scotiabank Place debut for Zibanejad — the 18-year old Swede looked more comfortable as the game went on before finally scoring the overtime winner against the Boston Bruins.
In Montreal, he’ll be one of 12 Senators who didn’t play in Friday’s 4-3 shootout loss to the Habs.
“The interesting one will be to see Zibanejad on right wing and see what kind of a difference that might make for him,” coach Paul MacLean said after Saturday’s morning skate.
“Not that we’re disappointed in how he’s playing. We just want to get a look at him on the right side as well.”
Other line combinations we’ll see Peter Regin between Nikita Filatov and Chris Neil, Stephane Da Costa with Colin Greening and Erik Condra and Derek Grant centering Kaspars Daugavins and Mark Parrish.
On defence, Jared Cowen will play with Sergei Gonchar, Mark Borowiecki with David Rundblad and Patrick Wiercioch with Matt Carkner.
Robin Lehner is slated to play the whole game in goal.
“I think we’re looking for more of the same, but we’re looking for a consistent 60 minute game tonight,” said MacLean, whose club surrendered a 3-0 lead Friday.
“A lot of the stuff we’ve been working on we saw in the game (Friday). The big focus (Saturday) is to make sure you play the whole game.”
Lehner made a surprise cameo appearance at Bell Centre last season, coming in off the bench for a brief spell while starting goalie Brian Elliott had a broken skate fixed.
“More than three shots this time would be nice,” Lehner said Saturday morning.
“It’s a good arena to play in.”
Meanwhile, the Senators have returned Jean-Gabriel Pageau to his junior team, the Gatineau Olympiques.