OTTAWA — The Ottawa Senators will be in what coach Guy Boucher referred to as a “gigantic hole” when they take on the Los Angeles Kings without a couple of top-line forwards Tuesday night at Canadian Tire Centre.
Joining Zack Smith on the shelf is Bobby Ryan, who had combined with Derick Brassard and Mark Stone on the No. 1 line to score 25 points in the team’s first eight games.
“We all know that if our team is going to have success this year, our line is going to have to be pretty good all season long,” said Brassard, who along with Stone scored twice apiece in Ottawa’s 6-3 win over the Toronto Maple Leafs on Saturday. “We started really well, and now this happens with Bobby. You can’t replace a guy like that, with his hands, his size and the way he plays. But someone is going to have to play more minutes and jump in.”
It appears veteran Alex Burrows will get the first chance, but Boucher promised he would be doing a lot of shuffling.
“I wouldn’t write lines down,” he said. “They won’t last very long, I can tell you right now. Once the penalty kill starts, and the power play, and they double shift they top lines and all that, the lines go out to lunch on you.”
While the Senators (4-1-3) are three games into a five-game homestand, the Kings (6-1-1) are two games in to a six-game road trip. Against Ottawa, they will be playing their second game in 24 hours after taking their first regulation-time loss Monday in Toronto.
“I don’t think anyone’s ever won 82 games in a row,” said Los Angeles winger Trevor Lewis, who had a goal and an assist in the Kings’ 3-2 defeat. “We’ve just got to forget about it and come back (Tuesday) night and play well.”
Los Angeles ran into penalty trouble against the Leafs, who scored once on six power-play chances. The Kings, who were 0-for-2 with the man advantage, managed to score while short-handed when Lewis notched his third of the season.
“We’d like to get the power play going again and clean up our penalty killing a little bit,” said Kings coach John Stevens, who was satisfied with his team’s effort but not the execution. “We’re going to look at our team. I think we did some good things tonight, and there’s some areas we need to clean up. We turned pucks over in our zone (on plays) I think could have been exits. I’d like to see that cleaned up.”
The Kings will face the Senators’ backup goalie, as Mike Condon will be making his second start of the season and first at home. Condon stopped 35 shots in a 6-1 victory over the Edmonton Oilers on Oct. 14.
In a back-to-back situation, the Kings are expected to go with backup Darcy Kuemper for what would be his second start of the season and first on the road.
Kuemper made 23 saves in a 3-2 win over the New York Islanders on Oct. 15.Let's