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Inside the Senate
 

Gonchar returns from flu

Veteran d-man healthy enough to stay in the lineup
Thursday, 02.7.2013 / 1:35 PM ET
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...

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STANDINGS

ATLANTIC DIVISION
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 y - MTL 82 50 22 10 214 184 110
2 x - TBL 82 50 24 8 259 206 108
3 x - DET 82 43 25 14 231 211 100
4 x - OTT 82 43 26 13 232 208 99
5 BOS 82 41 27 14 209 201 96
6 FLA 82 38 29 15 198 213 91
7 TOR 82 30 44 8 206 257 68
8 BUF 82 23 51 8 153 269 54

STATS

2014-2015 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
E. Karlsson 82 21 45 7 66
M. Stone 80 26 38 21 64
K. Turris 82 24 40 5 64
B. Ryan 78 18 36 5 54
M. Hoffman 79 27 21 16 48
M. Zibanejad 80 20 26 0 46
C. MacArthur 62 16 20 -6 36
M. Michalek 66 13 21 3 34
D. Legwand 80 9 18 1 27
A. Chiasson 76 11 15 -5 26
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
C. Anderson 14 13 8 .923 2.49
R. Lehner 9 12 3 .905 3.02