OTTAWA, Ontario — The Thrashers will go with the same lineup, other than Ondrej Pavelec back in goal, Monday against the Senators. That means forwards Ben Eager and Niclas Bergfors are healthy scratches for the second straight game. Both were out for Saturday’s 5-4 win over the New York Islanders.
“It’s never fun sitting out,” Eager said. “It’s [coach Craig Ramsay’s] decision. I guess a lot of coaches keep the same lineup if you are winning, so hopefully it works out again tonight.
“Obviously, I haven’t been playing my best hockey the last couple of games. That is most likely a reason I’m sitting out. I’m going to work hard and get back in the lineup.”
Fredrik Modin and Tim Stapleton will again replace Eager and Bergfors.
Ramsay said Monday that the decision to healthy scratch the forwards had as much to do with the play of Modin and Stapleton against the Islanders. However, he again said once a player is out of the lineup, it won’t be easy to get back in.
“Even though we haven’t carried a lot of extra players, players have to understand it’s not automatic [to get back in the lineup], Ramsay said. “The way our players are playing, if you get out, it might be difficult to get back in. So you have to perform. You have to be on top of your game. You can’t be looking to take nights off.
“I just think that Stapleton fit right in. I thought Freddy did a good job. He had some good forechecks, he held the puck and made some good plays defensively. I was very, very pleased with both of them. When a guy steps in and plays hard, he deserves a chance to play again.”
Eager said he has not discussed his play with the coaching staff.
“I haven’t sat down with them, but I think it’s pretty clear they obviously weren’t happy with the way I was playing and that’s why I’m out,” Eager said.
Bergfors was also a healthy scratch three of four games in October. He is tied for fifth on the Thrashers with seven goals. In 53 games since being acquired from New Jersey in the Ilya Kovalchuk trade, Bergfors has 35 points (16 goals, 19 assists). Eager has eight points (three goals, five assists) for the Thrashers. He had played in every game for the time this season before being scratched Saturday.
Ramsay said he expects Eager and Bergfors to get back in the lineup, but did not know when that would occur.
“That’s part of what we are trying to grow here,” Ramsay said. “Their job is to be ready, just like those other two were, when you get your chance to go back in you better be ready to play. You’ve got to support your teammates whether you are in the lineup or out of the lineup. We are a group and a team. You have to think like a team and act like a team. I think they will. I have every confidence when they get called back, and they will, they will be ready to go and step back in.”
Defenseman Freddy Meyer will be the other healthy scratch.