NEW YORK - Paul MacLean was tight-lipped Thursday morning. He’s not giving away any plans for tonight’s lineup.
The Senators coach told reporters following the club’s optional skate at Madison Square Garden he’s keeping all his “options open” for his lineup for Game 7.
Neither Zenon Konopka nor Matt Carkner were on the ice, but MacLean insisted “both will be available” to play. If they’re not, expect Bobby Butler and Matt Gilroy to step as the Senators try to advance to Round 2.
It was the second straight day Carkner and Konopka weren’t on the ice. They didn’t skate in Ottawa Wednesday either, but Carkner was seen leaving the building.
MacLean said roster decisions for such a pivotal game don’t come easily.
Rookie Mark Borowiecki made the trip with the team along with prospects Matt Stone, who set up a goal in Game 5, and Swedish winger Jakob Silfverberg, who made his debut on the top line in Game 6.
“I’m going to give us the best players that give us a chance to win,” said MacLean.
The Senators are excited to have the chance to wrap this series up.
“Guys are pretty light and relaxed. It’s nothing out of the ordinary,” said centre Jason Spezza. “You can make big strides as a team to have a huge upset like this. There’s a lot of pressure on that group.
“If we can move on and get to the second round, that’s big step and give us a lot of experience. To win a Game 7 would be a huge boost for our club. When you get a chance to be in these situations, you can learn a lot from them and, hopefully, we make the most of it.”
If the Senators do beat the Rangers, they’ll face either the Philadelphia Flyers or Florida Panthers in Round 2.