Senators mull goalie decision before facing Blue Jackets (Jan 22, 2017)

BY AP • January 22, 2017

OTTAWA -- Coming off a shootout victory that gave them a 3-0 record on a six-day road trip, the Ottawa Senators have a big decision to make before facing the Columbus Blue Jackets on Sunday at Canadian Tire Centre.

Do they ask goalie Mike Condon to make his 22nd consecutive appearance, or do they give him a break and rookie Chris Driedger his first career NHL start?

"I'll take to my people and see where we're at," coach Guy Boucher said after the Senators outlasted the Toronto Maple Leafs 3-2 on Saturday night at Air Canada Centre. "We'll make a decision tomorrow.

"(Condon) has proven he's got great character."

Condon has been especially good the last two games, stopping 73 of 75 shots. But when they host the Blue Jackets, the Senators will be playing less than 19 hours after getting off the ice in Toronto, their final stop in a road trip that began when they flew out of Ottawa on Monday.

"Those long week road trips do wear you out," Boucher said. "The reality is, tomorrow we're going back home and now we've got to face the top team in the league, again. At least they played tonight also."

The Blue Jackets, who lost 2-0 to the Senators in Columbus on Thursday, did bounce back with a 3-2 victory over the Carolina Hurricanes on Saturday. But it was a home ice victory they weren't especially proud of.

Columbus was outshot 37-20, managing only two shots in the second period.

"It's nice to win a game when you don't play a complete 60 minutes," said Scott Hartnell, who scored twice for Columbus. "That second period was just terrible hockey from us."

Coach John Tortorella maintained his team would have had "no chance" if not for the play of goalie Sergei Bobrovsky.

"We're a very young hockey club," Tortorella said. "I know we don't know how to continue the standard that we want to play at, when the league is getting better. I don't think we totally know how to do that yet. That's part of our job (as coaches) to continue to teach that. I didn't help our club tonight."

Boucher did help his team with a surprising decision in the shootout, and it's a card he will no doubt play again moving forward.

After using Bobby Ryan, Kyle Turris and Erik Karlsson in the first three rounds, he sent Tom Pyatt out with a chance to win the game.

Pyatt, a third-line winger who has just 33 goals in 289 NHL games, had never before taken a shootout chance in North America, although he did perform the duty on occassion while playing for Boucher in Switzerland.

He smooth put a move on Maple Leafs goalie Frederick Anderson before flipping the puck just under the crossbar.

"I' 1/8ve been delaying and delaying it," Boucher said of his decision to use Pyatt. "He's been our best in practice. I should have never delayed it. I had him in my mind from the beginning of the year.

"I'm not smart because I could have done it before. It was something I knew was a weapon. I thought, why not here?"



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