Coach Paul MacLean is doing a juggling act with his Senators lineup.
MacLean will make the bold move of changing a winning lineup Thursday by dressing seven defencemen tonight against the Colorado Avalanche.
As a result of the decision, centre Zenon Konopka will be a healthy scratch in favour of blueliner Brian Lee. Winger Bobby Butler is going to play in place of Erik Condra. Expect to see MacLean shift his wingers around as a result.
MacLean said he his hopeful by limiting ice time, the blueliners will do a better job clearing the puck out the zone.
“We should be able to keep the minutes (of the defencemen) down,” said MacLean Thursday morning.
MacLean said it’s not easy to make changes but with 14 forwards and seven defencemen here he has no choice.
“You can’t play them all. You have to be able manage the games and situations,” said MacLean.
Butler, who had a difficult camp, will make his season debut.
“I feel good. I feel ready to go,” said Butler. “I’ve just got to play how I play. I just have to go out there and get the job done. I’ve just got to keep working hard.”
MacLean said Butler deserves to play.
“It’s hard to learn the game without playing the game,” said MacLean. “He’s worked hard in practice on his defensive game and we can’t just keep him sitting out."
That said, the coach had a different perspective on Condra's situation.
"Erik Condra is also a young player who needs to learn and sometimes you can learn a lot by sitting in the press box.”
Goaltender Craig Anderson will face his former team for the first time since he was dealt to Ottawa. Veteran J.S. Giguere is going to make the start for the Avalanche.
The Avs are coming off a 3-2 shootout victory over Columbus.