Surging Senators aim to extend streak against Thrashers
THRASHERS (6-5-3) at SENATORS (7-6-1)
TV — SNET-E (HD)
Last 10 —
Atlanta 4-3-3; Ottawa 6-4-0
Season series —
This is the first of four meetings. The Thrashers took three of four from the Senators last season, outscoring Ottawa 16-7.
Big story —
Are you a glass-half-empty or half-full kind of person? The Thrashers have just one regulation loss in their last seven games, but are just 3-1-3 during that stretch. Meanwhile, the Sens are starting to get hot. They've won three straight and five of six after opening the season 1-4-1.
Saturday's 5-4 shootout loss to the Blackhawks was a reunion of sorts. Many Thrashers were members of the last year's Cup-winning Blackhawks team. But it was Viktor Stalberg, who was with the Maple Leafs last season, beating Thrashers goaltender Ondrej Pavelec in the fifth round of the shootout to send the Thrashers to their second straight loss.
Pavelec made 36 saves, but he fell to 0-6 lifetime in the shootout.
"I know I've got to be better there and help the team grab the extra point," said Pavelec, who made 36 saves. "We deserved to win. I know my record. I know I have to be better there. The guys played really well tonight and deserved to win. They deserved better help from me. I should have made some more saves early."
Sens Blog Central
When the Sens beat the Canadiens 3-2 on Saturday, it marked the first time the team was above .500 all season. Are they ready to say they've turned a corner?
"I don't think you can look and say, 'We've turned the corner now.' It's just a process the whole time," Ottawa's Daniel Alfredsson
told the Ottawa Sun
. "You just keep trying to get better. There's always something that’s not clicking in a game. You've got to keep improving, keep working and you've got to give yourself chances to win the game."
Who's hot —
Atlanta's Dustin Byfuglien has been a force this season and has three goals and four assists in his last seven games … Ottawa's Sergei Gonchar
has two goals and two assists in his last three games.
Injury report —
Thrashers centre Bryan Little (concussion) is out. Defenceman Freddy Meyer (lower body) is practising but there is no timetable for his return … Sens forward Milan Michalek
(knee) will return Tuesday against the Thrashers. Defenceman Filip Kuba
(ankle), however, isn't ready to return yet.
Stat pack —
Ottawa's Alex Kovalev
has 997 career points. He has 417 goals and 580 assists in 1,242 games with the New York Rangers, Pittsburgh, Montreal and Ottawa … The Thrashers had killed 16 straight penalties before the Blackhawks scored with the man advantage Saturday.
Puck drop —
"We're definitely going in the right direction," Alfredsson told the Sun
. "We've improved in a lot of areas, which helps. We're a little bit more poised with the puck and we're not thinking in terms of, 'Let's not get scored on.' We're trying to create more and that's something that comes with confidence."