Senators’ winger Mathieu Joseph will make his return against Flames

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Help is on the way for the Ottawa Senators.

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The Senators will have winger Mathieu Joseph back Tuesday against the Calgary Flames as they prepare to wrap up the Western Canada portion of this five-game road trip before making a stop in Buffalo on the way home.

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Winless in the first three games and coming off a 3-1 loss to the Edmonton Oilers on Saturday night, the Senators will have Joseph back for the first time since he suffered a lower body injury Dec. 15 against the Dallas.

Placed on long-term injury reserve (LTIR) after missing 10 games with the ailment, the 28-year-old Joseph has been skating for the last week.

Joseph is eligible to come off LTIR for this game and to make room under the salary cap the club will have to place forward Rourke Chartier on LTIR retroactive to when he was injury Dec. 17 against the Vegas Golden Knights.

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Getting Joseph back is good news for the struggling Senators.

He has been one of the club’s best and most consistent forwards this season. Joseph has posted six goals and 19 points in 25 games while playing up and down the lineup.

He had only three goals and 18 points in 56 games last year so this has been a huge step in the right direction.

“I was telling the guys this morning it felt like Christmas eve here,” Joseph told TSN 1200’s Gord Wilson on Monday. “Even if it’s only 10 games you want to be there and you want to be battling with the guys. It’s like family the boys. I’m excited and hope everything goes well tomorrow.”

Joseph skated on the top line with captain Brady Tkachuk and centre Josh Norris on Monday in Calgary as interim coach Jacques Martin shifted forward lines around.

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“With him back it gives us more flexibility to move people around and that’s a good thing,” Martin said.

Joseph can also help the club’s penalty killing units, especially his speed.

“I just have to play well defensively, do my job when I have to go on the ice and I want to feel like I had an impact at both ends of the ice,” he said. It might take a couple of shifts but I just want go back to my identity of being a hard to play against.

“We’ve played together in the past and we’ve had some success. Brady is so good down low. I think if I can be the (puck) retriever on that line and get the pucks down low and good on the forecheck, I think we can be efficient on that line.”

Joseph said if it hadn’t been for the rules surrounding LTIR he likely would have been ready to play earlier “but there’s nothing you can do about it. The body and mind feels good. I’m pretty confident.”

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Associate coach Jack Capuano and defenceman Artem Zub weren’t on the ice in Calgary. Martin said both were suffering from the flu and were back at the club’s hotel. Winger Zack MacEwen missed the Senators game last Thursday in Seattle because of the illness.

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Struggling on the power play, the Senators made changes to both of their units Monday.

TSN 1200’s Dean Brown reported Monday centre Tim Stutzle was taken off the first power-play unit and replaced by veteran Claude Giroux. The first unit also includes Drake Batherson, Josh Norris, Thomas Chabot and Tkachuk.

Stutzle skated with the second unit with Vladimir Tarasenko, Jakob Chychrun, Mark Kastelic and Jake Sanderson.

Dominik Kubalik, who has been a mainstay on the second unit all season, was replaced by Kastelic. That’s a bit of surprise because Kastelic has been used mostly in a fourth-line role this season

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Given all the offensive talent this club has, it’s surprising to see Ottawa ranked No. 24 in the league with the man-advantage. The Senators have scored only one power-play goal in their past 15 attempts in six games.

Not being able to capitalize on a double-minor to Evander Kane in the first period Saturday in Edmonton turned out costly. Hall of Fame assistant Daniel Alfredsson also made suggestions to both units on an approach.

“We haven’t been scoring on the power play so we needed to bring some changes,” Martin said. “We brought some changes to both our units and Alfie brought them so different plays.

“Even if we give them a structure, they’ve got to use their imagination and creativity and read what the defence gives you to take advantage of that. It’s part of the game, whether it’s special teams or 5-on-5, there’s situations in the game that you read where you should go.

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“We had a lengthy meeting this morning because there’s details in our game we need to improve. I liked our effort and our intensity Saturday and we need to bring that every game with the details to our game.”

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Ottawa prospect defenceman Jorian Donovan is on the move.

Michael Andlauer’s Brantford Bulldogs of the Ontario Hockey League announced Monday they’ve dealt the Senators’ fifth-round pick in the 2022 NHL draft to the Saginaw Spirit for eight draft picks.

Donovan, who won gold with Team Canada at the 2024 world junior championships, was draft by the Bulldogs No. 6 overall in 2020.

“Jorian has been an integral part of the Bulldogs foundation” said Brantford GM Matt Turek. “It is always tough to move a player of Jorian’s talent and more importantly Jorian’s character. He leaves a wonderful legacy with the Bulldogs as both a player, a leader and an OHL champion.”

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