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Oilers' talent, speed catches Senators' attention

Despite recent dominance over Alberta foe, Ottawa isn't taking anything for granted

Thursday, 17.11.2011 / 3:41 PM / Features
By Rob Brodie  - OttawaSenators.com
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Oilers\' talent, speed catches Senators\' attention
Goaltender Craig Anderson and the Senators are looking to finish off an Alberta sweep against the Oilers in Edmonton tonight (Getty Images).

Nobody needs to remind the Ottawa Senators that the past is indeed the past.

Just two days ago, the Senators' ears were filled with talk of their lengthy drought between victories at the Scotiabank Saddledome in Calgary. Then Ottawa went out made all that chatter moot by posting a 3-1 victory over the Flames on Tuesday night.

With that thought in mind, don't expect the Senators to put too much stock in their recent run of success against the Edmonton Oilers heading into their matchup at Rexall Place tonight (9:30 p.m., Sportsnet Sens, Team 1200). Ottawa is 7-1-0 in its last eight outings against the Oilers and has won four straight in the Alberta capital, including a 5-3 triumph when the teams last met there on Feb. 12.

"What happened in the past ... different teams, different players," cautioned Senators goaltender Craig Anderson, who owns a 6-3-1 lifetime record against the Oilers. "You've got to come in and be ready to go. My job is to give the team a chance to win, regardless of what city we're in."

The OIlers (9-6-2) are returning home after a six-game road trip that ended with three straight losses. But with dynamic young talent such as Taylor Hall, Jordan Eberle and top Calder Trophy candidate Ryan Nugent-Hopkins in the lineup, there's plenty to grab the Senators' (9-9-1) attention tonight.

"It doesn't matter what sweater over there you're playing against," said Anderson. "All the teams are pretty good in this league and, on any given night, you can be embarrassed by the last-place team or the first-place team. It doesn't matter where they are in the standings, any team can make you (work to) earn that victory."

Added head coach Paul MacLean: "They'll present a challenge to us. They've got pretty good team speed and we're going to have to skate tonight if we're going to have a chance."

Around the boards

No lineup changes for tonight, meaning blueliner David Rundblad will be a healthy scratch for a third straight game ... The Senators last recorded a sweep in Alberta in 2003, when Patrick Lalime blanked the Flames 1-0 and the Oilers 2-0 ... Ottawa has won two straight on its current six-game road stretch, which continues Sunday in Vancouver against the Canucks (9 p.m., Sportsnet East, Team 1200) ... Nikolai Khabibulin gets the start in goal tonight for the Oilers ... A sore back will keep Edmonton centre Sam Gagner out of tonight's contest.

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STANDINGS

ATLANTIC DIVISION
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 MTL 62 41 16 5 171 135 87
2 TBL 64 38 20 6 210 171 82
3 DET 61 35 15 11 180 159 81
4 BOS 62 31 22 9 165 161 71
5 FLA 63 28 22 13 154 178 69
6 OTT 60 27 23 10 171 163 64
7 TOR 63 25 33 5 170 193 55
8 BUF 63 19 39 5 123 212 43

STATS

2014-2015 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
E. Karlsson 60 15 32 3 47
B. Ryan 56 15 30 8 45
K. Turris 60 15 28 -4 43
M. Hoffman 57 23 16 23 39
M. Stone 58 15 24 11 39
M. Zibanejad 58 15 18 2 33
C. MacArthur 53 13 13 -10 26
M. Michalek 55 11 14 -1 25
D. Legwand 58 8 14 -3 22
A. Chiasson 54 9 12 -8 21
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
C. Anderson 13 11 7 .927 2.37
R. Lehner 9 12 3 .905 3.02