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Gonchar returns from flu

Veteran d-man healthy enough to stay in the lineup
Thursday, 07.02.2013 / 1:35 PM
By Chris Lund - OttawaSenators.com / Inside the Senate Blog
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Inside the Senate Blog
Gonchar returns from flu

Andre Ringuette/NHLI via Getty Images

The Sens will get a veteran boost on Thursday night when Sergei Gonchar returns to the lineup after missing a couple of games due to the flu. The 38 year old Russian defenceman had a similar ailment to that of captain Daniel Alfredsson, only Gonchar says was a bit worse than what Alfredsson had.

Gonchar did make a brief return to the lineup last weekend against Carolina but ultimately wasn't healthy enough to play more than one night. On Tuesday night he took the pregame warmups with the team but didn't feel up to the task against Buffalo.

He'll have a new partner to the side of him tonight as Mike Lundin will make his Sens debut next to Gonchar on a pairing. The two have had minimal time playing alongside one another. Ideally for the Sens some in-game action will force some chemistry between the two.

"He was skating the last couple of days, and I wasn't skating so I don't know much. I'll have to learn on the fly," said Gonchar. "He's a good skater, I've seen him around. I think we'll have to communicate a lot in the beginning. I'm sure it'll be an adjustment for both of us."

Prior to getting sick, Gonchar appeared to be getting a handle on the offensive skillset that has made him so valuable over his 18 years in the league. Before the game against Carolina Gonchar had three points in the three games he played prior, incuding the game winning goal against the Washington Capitals on January 29.

With an adept passer playing alongside him at the point, Gonchar could have more opportunity to get shots through from the point. That connection may take time, however, as the two need to get in synch first.

"You have to adjust to every partner you're playing with. The biggest thing is communication. You're learning from each other and getting on the same page. It'll take a few games."

February 7 also marks a milestone for Gonchar as the anniversary of his first ever NHL game. He debuted for the Capitals back in 1995 against the Buffalo Sabres. He sits tied for 19th all-time in points by a defenceman with Steve Duchesne who also played for the Senators from 1995-1997.

Many will remember Duchesne as the player who scored the game winning goal against Buffalo to clinch the Sens' first ever playoff berth.

To refresh your memory...

SCHEDULE

HOME
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STANDINGS

ATLANTIC DIVISION
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 p - BOS 82 54 19 9 261 177 117
2 x - TBL 82 46 27 9 240 215 101
3 x - MTL 82 46 28 8 215 204 100
4 x - DET 82 39 28 15 222 230 93
5 OTT 82 37 31 14 236 265 88
6 TOR 82 38 36 8 231 256 84
7 FLA 82 29 45 8 196 268 66
8 BUF 82 21 51 10 157 248 52

STATS

2013-2014 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
E. Karlsson 82 20 54 -15 74
J. Spezza 75 23 43 -26 66
K. Turris 82 26 32 22 58
C. MacArthur 79 24 31 12 55
B. Ryan 70 23 25 7 48
A. Hemsky 75 13 30 -15 43
M. Michalek 82 17 22 -25 39
M. Zibanejad 69 16 17 -15 33
M. Methot 75 6 17 0 23
P. Wiercioch 53 4 19 -1 23
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
C. Anderson 25 16 8 .911 3.00
R. Lehner 12 15 6 .913 3.06