The Ottawa Senators appear close to having three veteran players return to their lineup, and help right the ship after dropping their past two games.
First and foremost, Senators number-one-goaltender Craig Anderson appears close to returning from his unfortunate food preparation injury.
Anderson has been out four weeks following surgery to repair a severed tendon in his blocker side pinkie finger. Said pinkie was slashed open while the goaltender was attempting to prepare a post-game meal.
The Senators have been happy with the performance of Ben Bishop, who has compiled a record of 3-2-2 with a 1.96 GAA in seven starts, and the coaching staff feels no need to rush Anderson back into action before he is ready.
All that said, Anderson remains the number one goalie, and one would assume that he will see action at some point this weekend with Ottawa playing three games in four nights.
Head coach Paul MacLean did indicate that Bishop would start Friday versus the Montreal Canadiens.
Forward Jesse Winchester passed his post-concussion baseline test Wednesday, and could be ready to return to action soon.
He will bring a spark to the Senators bottom-six, and could provide some much needed energy to the team. His return will almost certainly strengthen the Ottawa penalty-kill as well as the overall depth of their forwards.
Jason Spezza was still feeling under the weather and did not participate in practice Wednesday.
Spezza missed the Senators 1-0 loss to New Jersey Tuesday with the flu, but MacLean said he expects him to practice Thursday, and to be available for Ottawa’s game against Montreal on Friday night.
Spezza is the Senators leading scorer and currently sits fifth in league scoring with 75 points in 73 games this season.
Clearly he is a major cog in the Ottawa offense, but I believe Spezza will need to elevate his game even further, if the Senators expect to hold onto a playoff spot.