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Solid defence needed against Thrashers

Friday, 02.16.2007 / 12:00 AM ET / News
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Solid defence needed against Thrashers
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The Ottawa Senators will be keeping a close eye on Ilya Kovalchuk, left, and Marian Hossa tomorrow. Photo: S. Cunningham/Getty Images/NHLI

by Todd Anderson

Boasting a dangerous arsenal up front, the Atlanta Thrashers bring this season's two-game winning streak over the Ottawa Senators - 5-4 on Nov. 8 and 3-2 in overtime on Jan. 1 - to Scotiabank Place tomorrow. With the likes of forwards Marian Hossa and Ilya Kovalchuk coming to town, the Senators will need a solid defensive effort to extend their current three-game winning streak.

"We know they have some goal scorers and that we haven't played that well against Atlanta as much as other teams," Senators head coach Bryan Murray said this morning after practice. "We have to play a responsible game and we can't take penalties. Obviously, they score on the power play a lot with Kovalchuk's big shot."

Once again, expect Murray to employ the defensive tandem of Chris Phillips and Anton Volchenkov against Hossa and Kovalchuk. Phillips assessed the talent of the two players.

"They're two different types of players. Kovalchuk has a great one-timer, and when you think you have him, all of the sudden the puck is on his stick and then gone again, and often in the net. Hoss seems to be able to reach his top speed in only a couple of strides. Both of them have strength to back up their talent. Any time you play against elite guys the important thing is to try and not give them time with the puck and to be confident in your own abilities."

While the Thrashers continue to lead the Southeast Division, they've gone 3-6-1 in their last 10 games.

"They're a desperate team, and after losing some games, they're going to want to turn things around," Senators captain Daniel Alfredsson said.

Senators winger Dany Heatley, who started his NHL career in Atlanta, also expects a spirited effort from the Thrashers.

"It's always a tough game. They have lots of dangerous guys. I expect them to be fired up to play us. They've beaten us twice now, but we've got them two more times. We're hoping to start with two points tomorrow."

The Atlanta Thrashers are expected to have forward Denis Hamel in the lineup tomorrow. Hamel was claimed off waivers by Atlanta from the Senators on Feb. 10.

SCHEDULE

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AWAY
PROMOTIONAL

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