Ottawa Senators Official Website FRANÇAIS Official Site of the Ottawa Senators
Only 4 home games left!

Sens aim to ground Flyers

Tuesday, 02.19.2008 / 1:31 PM ET / Features
By Rob Brodie  -
Share with your Friends

Sens aim to ground Flyers
The Ottawa Senators don’t have to look far for a reminder about the urgency of the moment.

A quick glance at the Eastern Conference standings should do the trick. And yes, the Senators are well aware that the Montreal Canadiens and New Jersey Devils have both pulled even with them at the top of the heap – all three teams now owning a conference-best 73 points.

Depending on what goes down Tuesday night, the Senators could wake up Wednesday morning all the way down in fourth place. Or alone in front of the pack once again, with a slim edge over their closest pursuers.

Extra motivation, perhaps, to get the job done Tuesday night at Scotiabank Place (7:30 p.m., Rogers Sportsnet, Team 1200) against the slumping Philadelphia Flyers?

“It should be,” forward Antoine Vermette said after the Senators’ pre-game skate this morning. “No doubt about it. We had a pretty good lead early in the season and now it’s a new game.

“We’re not surprised (that lead is gone). We know we haven’t been playing well lately. So, hopefully, this could be one thing we can use to be more motivated and have a better performance.”

Thanks to a 16-3-0 start, the Senators have owned top spot in the conference since the first week of the season. But since edging the Western Conference-leading Detroit Red Wings 3-2 back on Jan. 12, they’ve slipped into a 5-10-1 tailspin – including a current three-game losing streak – that has cost them all of what was once a healthy cushion.

“That should be a source of pride, that you’ve been in first place that long,” said Senators head coach John Paddock when asked if the tightness of the East race should add some urgency to his team’s play. “It should be an extra driving force or motivation.”

Paddock still believes it’s a group of players that, despite their recent struggles, still brings an air of confidence to the rink on game nights.

“I think they’re quietly confident right now,” said Paddock. “When you’re in a losing streak… they have higher expectations than that, they have higher expectations on themselves than most people do outside the team. But I think they’re still a very confident group.”

Added captain Daniel Alfredsson: “I feel like we’re still in good position. We’re in first place. We’re not happy with the way we’ve been playing lately but if we can push ourselves, we’ve still got a good chance of finishing first, even if we lose the lead for a game or two. It’s not out of our hands.”

The Flyers, meanwhile, arrive in Ottawa in the throes of a seven-game losing streak that has put a playoff berth in jeopardy. But Paddock remains wary of a team that is 2-0-0 against the Senators this season.

“They play in straight lines, they go to the net, they compete and battle,” he said. “It’s a good team.”

One thing is for sure – one team’s skid will end tonight.

“Somebody has to win,” Paddock said with a grin. “In the new NHL, somebody has to win.”

Lineup notes

Forward Chris Neil has a touch of the flu and Paddock said it’ll be a game-time decision whether he suits up tonight. “It’s obviously questionable,” he said … Ray Emery (10-10-3) makes his third straight start in goal tonight.




1 MTL 75 46 21 8 197 167 100
2 TBL 75 46 22 7 244 194 99
3 DET 73 39 22 12 212 201 90
4 OTT 73 37 25 11 213 195 85
5 BOS 74 36 25 13 195 193 85
6 FLA 74 34 26 14 184 202 82
7 TOR 75 27 42 6 194 241 60
8 BUF 74 20 46 8 141 249 48


E. Karlsson 73 19 40 10 59
B. Ryan 69 18 35 9 53
K. Turris 73 21 31 0 52
M. Stone 71 18 33 15 51
M. Hoffman 70 26 20 20 46
M. Zibanejad 71 19 24 3 43
M. Michalek 66 13 21 3 34
C. MacArthur 53 13 13 -10 26
A. Chiasson 67 11 15 -4 26
D. Legwand 71 9 17 3 26
A. Hammond 14 1 1 .938 1.92
C. Anderson 14 12 7 .925 2.44