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Solid defence needed against Thrashers

Friday, 16.02.2007 / 12:00 AM / News
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Solid defence needed against Thrashers
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

HOME
AWAY
PROMOTIONAL

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