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Sens seeking a bolt of offence

Lightning's aggressive attack 'a challenge' for Ottawa tonight

Thursday, 10.15.2009 / 12:54 PM ET / Features
By Rob Brodie  - OttawaSenators.com
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Sens seeking a bolt of offence
Mike Fisher and the Senators know they'll need a little more offence against the Tampa Bay Lightning tonight at Scotiabank Place (Photo by Phillip MacCallum/Getty Images).
Recent history suggests the offensive fireworks will be kept to a minimum at Scotiabank Place tonight.

When the Ottawa Senators and Tampa Bay Lightning faced off against each other during the 2008-09 season, the winning side didn't need any more than three goals to grab a pair of points. Two of the Senators' three victories came by the shutout route (3-0 and 2-0).

Still, Ottawa head coach Cory Clouston looks at a Tampa roster that includes the red-hot Martin St. Louis (three goals, six assists in five games), Steven Stamkos (three goals, three assists) and Ryan Malone (five goals), and he sees a major test tonight (7:30 p.m., TSN, Team 1200) for his offensively challenged team.

"They’re getting lots of goals," Clouston said of the Lightning (2-1-2) after his team's pre-game skate earlier today. "They’re playing a lot more aggressive in the offensive zone. They cycle the puck very well and they’re healthy. They’ve added a few new players and Stamkos is another year older. They’re a very dangerous team and they’ve played well so far this season."

The Senators (3-2-0), meanwhile, have only 12 goals in five games of action so far and their power play has only lit the lamp once in 15 chances (6.7 per cent), which ranks 29th among 30 National Hockey League teams. Needless to say, offence has been the team's focus during practice and video sessions this week.

"We've been finding ways in games to get goals when we've needed them, with the exception of last game (a 4-1 home-ice loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins on Monday)," said centre Mike Fisher, whose two goals and four points share the team scoring lead with captain Daniel Alfredsson (rookie Peter Regin also has two goals). "We've been doing some good things, but we've got to make a few adjustments offensively ... get a little more traffic (in front of the net).

"We'd like to be drawing a few more penalties, too. If we can do that, our power play can start clicking."

"They’re getting lots of goals. They’re playing a lot more aggressive in the offensive zone. They cycle the puck very well and they’re healthy. They’ve added a few new players and Stamkos is another year older. They’re a very dangerous team and they’ve played well so far this season." - Cory Clouston
Centre Jason Spezza agreed with the latter sentiment.

"It would be nice to have a game where we can draw six or seven power plays and bang a couple in," he said. "But we don't control that. We just want to try to win the games. If we can win some hockey games, it doesn't matter how we're getting the goals or who's getting them.

"You just have to move the puck quick (on the power play), you’ve got to be patient and you’ve got to have some composure. Composure on the power play is real important, just to take your time and make the right plays

While the injured Regin (lower body) and Jesse Winchester (right knee) both took the pre-game skate today, Clouston said neither will be ready for game action until Saturday at the earliest, when the Senators travel to Montreal to take on the Canadiens (7 p.m., CBC, Team 1200).

Defenceman Filip Kuba (lower body), meanwhile, is expected to return to the ice Friday or Saturday. Clouston is hopeful the veteran Czech blueliner will be good to go for the Nashville Predators' visit to Scotiabank Place on Oct. 22.

Around the boards


The forward alignment for the Senators remains the same as the team used Monday against the Penguins. Here are the lines: Milan Michalek-Jason Spezza-Jonathan Cheechoo; Alex Kovalev-Mike Fisher-Daniel Alfredsson; Nick Foligno-Ryan Shannon-Chris Neil, and Jarkko Ruutu-Chris Kelly-Shean Donovan. Defence pairings: Anton Volchenkov-Chris Phillips, Alex Picard-Matt Carkner and Chris Campoli-Erik Karlsson ... Tonight's matchup is the first of nine Subway Savings Games this season, with all regular-priced tickets 20 per cent off.


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STANDINGS

ATLANTIC DIVISION
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 x - MTL 76 47 21 8 200 169 102
2 TBL 76 46 23 7 244 198 99
3 DET 74 40 22 12 216 201 92
4 BOS 75 37 25 13 199 195 87
5 OTT 74 37 25 12 216 199 86
6 FLA 75 34 26 15 186 205 83
7 TOR 76 28 42 6 198 244 62
8 BUF 75 20 47 8 144 254 48

STATS

2014-2015 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
E. Karlsson 74 19 41 9 60
K. Turris 74 22 32 -1 54
B. Ryan 70 18 35 9 53
M. Stone 72 19 33 14 52
M. Hoffman 71 26 20 19 46
M. Zibanejad 72 19 24 2 43
M. Michalek 66 13 21 3 34
C. MacArthur 54 13 14 -10 27
D. Legwand 72 9 18 2 27
A. Chiasson 68 11 15 -4 26
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
A. Hammond 14 1 1 .938 1.92
C. Anderson 14 12 8 .923 2.48