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GAME: Ottawa Senators (30-10-3) at Minnesota Wild (20-20-4).
TIME: Monday, 8 p.m. EST.
The Ottawa Senators look to regain the top spot in the Eastern Conference when they face the Minnesota Wild to wrap up a two-game road swing.
The Senators sit atop the Northeast Division but are tied with the Philadelphia Flyers for second overall in the East after losing three of their last five games.
Ottawa also is one point behind the Carolina Hurricanes, who have won seven straight.
Ottawa returned to the win column with a 5-3 road victory Saturday over the Edmonton Oilers.
Vaclav Varada had his first multi-goal game since Jan. 8, 2002 and Dany Heatley scored his team-high 28th goal.
"A tight game," Senators coach Bryan Murray said. "We played very disciplined."
Heatley has only two goals in his last six games. He has recorded three goals in three career games against Minnesota, with two coming on March 9, 2003 while he was with the Atlanta Thrashers.
The Senators have struggled on the power play, going 4-for-44 over the last seven games, but three of them came in a 7-2 win Tuesday over the Phoenix Coyotes.
Leading scorer Daniel Alfredsson has two goals and three assists in three games after missing four with a broken rib. He has three assists in four games against the Wild.
The key for the Senators could be goaltender Dominik Hasek, who has a 3-0-2 career record with a 1.36 goals-against average and one shutout against the Wild.
His 2.07 GAA and .929 save percentage are second in the league to Minnesota's Manny Fernandez, who has a 2.02 GAA and .930 save percentage.
In the only regular-season meeting between the two clubs this season, the Wild are trying to avoid their third straight loss and fourth in five games. So far they are 1-4-0 in a season-high seven-game homestand.
Minnesota allowed four unanswered goals - three in the third period - in a 4-1 loss Saturday to the Calgary Flames.
"Once they scored that second and third goal we kind of stopped playing," said Minnesota's Marian Gaborik, who has only one goal in his last seven games. "We just can't do that."
Wild scoring leader Brian Rolston had an assist on the lone goal, giving him at least one point in eight of his last nine games. He has not scored a goal in four contests, and only twice this season has he gone as long without scoring.
Fernandez has lost his last two starts after winning his previous six. He has allowed five goals in the two losses while the Wild have scored only two.
The Wild are trying to climb back into the playoff race. They are nine points behind Edmonton for the eighth and final spot in the Western Conference.
STANDINGS: Senators - 63 points, 1st place, Northeast Division. Wild - 44 points, 5th place, 13 PB, Northwest Division.
TEAM LEADERS: Senators - Heatley, 28 goals; Jason Spezza, 35 assists; Alfredsson, 60 points; Zdeno Chara, 102 PIM. Wild - Rolston, 18 goals, 26 assists and 44 points; Derek Boogaard, 77 PIM.
SPECIAL TEAMS: Senators - Power play: 21.2 percent (58 for 274), 3rd in NHL. Penalty killing: 84.4 percent (239 for 283), 8th. Wild - Power play: 18.0 percent (44 for 245), 14th. Penalty killing: 89.3 percent (216 for 242), 1st.
GOALTENDERS: Senators - Hasek (22-7-2, 3 SO, 2.07 GAA); Ray Emery (8-3-1, 1, 3.07). Wild - Fernandez (15-7-3, 1, 2.02); Dwayne Roloson (5-13-1, 1, 2.83).
2003-04 SEASON SERIES: Wild, 1-0.
LAST MEETING: March 16, 2004; Wild, 5-2. At St. Paul, Minn., Gaborik scored three goals and added two assists. Roloson made 36 saves. Marian Hossa and Bryan Smolinski scored for the Senators.
ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Senators - 13-6-3 on the road; Wild - 12-9-1 at home.
|Jan 16 '06||OTT 6 at MIN 1||A. Meszaros|