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|OTT||0||0||0||(0 - 0)||1|
Home has been anything but a welcome place recently for the Ottawa Senators.
Ottawa will try to avoid losing five in a row at Scotiabank Place for the first time in nearly nine years when it meets the Colorado Avalanche on Thursday night.
Dating back to the final regular-season game of 2005-06, the Senators (2-3-0) have dropped four in a row including shutouts this season against Toronto and Calgary. They haven't dropped five straight in front of the home fans since Nov. 8-Nov. 22, 1997, a skid capped by consecutive shutout losses to Pittsburgh and Edmonton.
Over the last three seasons at home, Ottawa has averaged nearly 27 wins and fewer than 10 losses. This season, Ottawa has been outscored 11-3 and the power-play unit also has faltered, failing to score in 19 chances with the man advantage.
"We've got some great offensive guys and we're not putting the puck in the net right now, and we're getting tons of chances," Senators center Jason Spezza said after a 1-0 loss to the Flames on Oct. 12. "It's not like we're not getting chances out there and that definitely makes you feel more frustrated."
Daniel Alfredsson and Dany Heatley, the team's co-scoring leaders from last season with 103 points each, have yet to get untracked at home in 2006-07. They each have two assists.
Last season, the Senators went 23 games overall before losing their fourth. They finished as the top seed in the Eastern Conference, but were ousted in the second round by Buffalo in five games.
Facing Colorado may help end the Senators' early-season frustration - they have five wins and a tie in their last six home games over the Avalanche since March 1998.
Ottawa also has momentum, coming off a 3-2 shootout win Saturday over Montreal to spoil the Canadiens' home opener. Denis Hamel and Chris Kelly scored in the first period, and Antoine Vermette and Mike Fisher added shootout goals in the win.
Colorado (2-2-2) began its three-game road trip through Eastern Canada with a 4-1 win over Toronto on Wednesday. Defenseman John-Michael Liles scored his first two goals of the season and Tyler Arnason and Ian Laperriere each added two assists.
"This is real big," Liles said. "It's such a tough road trip against three tough teams in three cities tough to play in. Getting this first win is huge."
Arnason is the surprise team scoring leader after posting two goals and four assists during a three-game points streak. He managed only four assists in 19 games last season with the Senators after a March trade with Chicago for forward Brandon Bochenski.
Colorado signed Arnason as a free agent in June.
Joe Sakic, who's led the Avalanche in scoring each of the last two seasons, has 17 goals and 25 assists in 31 games against the Senators. He's one point behind Arnason and six away from 1,500 for his career.
After this contest, the Avalanche face the Canadiens on Saturday night in goaltender Jose Theodore's first game back in Montreal since being traded last season to Colorado.
|Oct 19 '06||COL 2 at OTT 1|