Senators seek to end six-game skid against Blues
BLUES (30-14-7) at SENATORS (27-21-7)
TV: FS-MW, SNET-E
St. Louis 6-2-2; Ottawa 3-6-1
This is the only game between these cross-conference clubs. The Blues took the lone meeting last season with a 5-2 win at home on Nov. 19, 2010.
While both the Blues and Senators sit among the playoff standings in their respective conferences, neither has been particularly hot as of late. St. Louis has lost three of its last four games, while Ottawa is winless over its last six games.
St. Louis lost some ground in the Western Conference playoff race with a 3-1 loss at the fourth-place Nashville Predators on Saturday. Chris Porter tallied the lone goal for the Blues as Nashville goalie Pekka Rinne remained red hot with a 42-save performance. The defeat marked the Blues' fourth loss of the season to the rival Predators.
"I thought we were better in the first, they were way, way better in the second, and we were better in the third," coach Ken Hitchcock said. "We just had too many passengers in the second period."
Although Ottawa hasn't won in its last six games, it still remains in the thick of the Eastern Conference playoff race. But if coach Paul MacLean and company can't find a way to heat up soon, the Senators run the risk of being caught in the standings by a couple of upstart clubs. The Maple Leafs, one of the clubs breathing down the Senators' necks, gained some ground Saturday with a 5-0 shutout win at Ottawa.
"We're not skating like we did before the (all-star) break," MacLean said. "The pace of play hasn't been as good. Some of that is self-inflicted with poor execution."
Neither team has a player in the midst of a major scoring or winning streak, although the Blues have gained four out of a possible six points in the last three games that ex-Senators goalie Brian Elliott started.
The Blues will be without Andy McDonald (concussion), Kent Huskins (ankle), and Alex Steen (concussion-like symptoms). … For the Senators, forward Jesse Winchester
(concussion) remains out indefinitely, while forward Peter Regin
(shoulder) is out for the season. Defenceman Brian Lee
is still day-to-day with a lower-body injury.
The Senators have won five straight home games against the Blues.
The Senators have a good mix of young talent and veterans, so now is the time for those experienced players to start leading by example.
"There's ups and downs during the season — right now we're in a down point, so it's about how quick we can turn this thing around," ninth-year centre Jason Spezza
said after Saturday's loss. "There's a cluster of teams fighting it out (for playoff spots). This is no time to quit or get down on ourselves."