Sign in with your NHL account:
  • Submit
  • Or
  • Sign in with Google
FRANÇAIS Official Site of the Ottawa Senators

ALL regular season home game TICKETS ON SALE NOW!


Sens expect 'big challenge' in Philly

Road test won't be all about Flyers' Emery, Ottawa players insist

Thursday, 12.11.2009 / 12:36 PM / Features
By Rob Brodie  -
Share with your Friends

Sens expect \'big challenge\' in Philly
Matt Carkner and the Senators know they'll be pushed right from the opening whistle by the Flyers during tonight's game in Philadelphia (Andre Ringuette/NHLI via Getty Images).
NHL game notes (PDF) for tonight's Ottawa-Philadelphia matchup.

In the city that immortalized Rocky, the Ottawa Senators know they'll need to be on the attack from the opening whistle.

Count on the Philadelphia Flyers being that way, too, when the teams face at the Wachovia Center tonight (7 p.m., TSN, Team 1200). The Senators expect nothing less from a typically big and physical foe that will no doubt push hard to get goaltender Ray Emery a victory against his former teammates.

"They like to come out hard at the start of games and we have to be ready for that and counter that by trying to do the same thing," defenceman Chris Phillips said with an eye toward the Senators' first of four meetings with the Flyers this season.

"Take the play to them early on and try to take the crowd out of it."

Fellow blueliner Matt Carkner echoed that thought, saying "we've got to pick up on the good things we did (Tuesday) night (a 3-2 shootout win over the Edmonton Oilers) and try to continue to do those things."

"(We want to) come out and just be on the attack right away. Finish our checks, do all the simple things we can on the road, and limit our mistakes."

At 9-4-1 and riding a four-game winning streak, the Flyers stand sixth in the Eastern Conference, one point ahead of the Senators (8-5-2). For Ottawa, it's a rare road test in a month that's dominated by home games, including five straight at Scotiabank Place after tonight's matchup.

"It's good for our guys to get out on the road," head coach Cory Clouston said after the Sens' pre-game skate today. "We know it's going to be a big challenge for us.

"They're aggressive and they drive the net probably as well as or better than anybody. They always seem to have somebody on top of the goaltender."

Most of the media focus leading into this game has centred around Emery, the goaltender who backstopped the Senators to the 2006-07 Stanley Cup final but was gone a year later when Ottawa bought out his contract. After spending a season in Russia's Kontinental Hockey League, Emery signed with the Flyers and has been a standout so far, posting a 9-3-1 record with a 2.27 goals-against average.

While eight of Emery's former Ottawa teammates remain with the Senators, they insist tonight's game is just another one they want to win. Clouston said the fact Emery will be in the opposition net tonight "hasn't even been spoken about once."

"They like to come out hard at the start of games and we have to be ready for that and counter that by trying to do the same thing. Take the play to them early on and try to take the crowd out of it." - Chris Phillips
"You want to approach it like you gear up for every game," said forward Chris Neil. "It's no different than if you're playing the Leafs, Montreal or whoever. It's a big two points for us and we've got to keep making strides here and keep climbing up the ladder."

Added centre Jason Spezza, a good friend of Emery's: "Once the game starts, he's just another goalie. I wouldn't mind scoring (on him) just for a little bit of bragging rights, but it's not a big deal."

Still, those who weren't in Ottawa during the Emery era are well aware tonight's game might mean a little more than others, even if that's being played down in the dressing room.

"He was here for a while and was liked in the dressing room," said Pascal Leclaire, who'll make his fifth straight start in goal for the Senators. "He still keeps in touch with a lot of (our) players, so I think those guys are looking forward to seeing him again.

"I think it'll be a good game. People have been looking forward to it for a long time."

Around the boards

When the going gets tight, the Senators have responded well – so far this season, at least. Eleven of their 15 games have been decided by two goals or less and Ottawa is 7-2-2 in those contests ... Forwards Shean Donovan and Jesse Winchester are tonight's healthy scratches ... The team's lines during the pre-game skate: Milan Michalek-Jason Spezza-Daniel Alfredsson, Jonathan Cheechoo-Mike Fisher-Alex Kovalev, Nick Foligno-Peter Regin-Ryan Shannon and Jarkko Ruutu-Chris Kelly-Chris Neil ... The Senators are back at Scotiabank Place on Saturday to face the New York Rangers (2 p.m., CBC, Team 1200). Fewer than 3,500 tickets are available for the game.




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


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
C. Anderson 25 16 8 .911 3.00
R. Lehner 12 15 6 .913 3.06