|ATL||0||0||0||(0 - 0)||3|
|OTT||0||0||0||(0 - 0)||7|
Domination during a brief winning streak has helped the Ottawa Senators quickly forget their longest skid in more than a decade.
The surging Senators look for their third consecutive win over Atlanta this season and fifth in a row overall as they welcome the Thrashers to Scotiabank Center on Saturday night.
Dany Heatley and Jason Spezza each scored twice for the second straight game, and Martin Gerber made 13 of his 26 saves in the first period to lead Ottawa (20-7-3) to its fourth straight win - 4-1 over Pittsburgh on Thursday.
"We weren't very good in the first, we didn't seem to have our legs under us and Marty made some big saves on some good chances early on," Spezza said. "After that, we kind of took over the game."
The Senators scored the opening goal in each game during its win streak, which has been keyed by two of its top three offensive threats. Heatley and Spezza each have four goals over the last four games, but Spezza has five assists over that stretch - three more than his linemate.
Daniel Alfredsson, the third member of the line with Heatley and Spezza, failed to find the back of the net during the winning streak, yet has three goals and nine assists in a seven-game run. Alfredsson leads Ottawa with 19 goals and 42 points.
Ottawa coach Jon Paddock told the Senators' official Web site that he didn't think getting away from home was a factor in the team's recent surge, one that followed their first seven-game slide since 1996.
"That's just a bunch of malarkey, I think, for the most part," he said. "If we'd only won one (on the road), we'd be saying 'what's wrong with us?'"
Before heading back out on the road for four of their next five, Ottawa will try to snap a four-game skid at home in which it's allowed 21 goals. The Senators' last five-game slide at home during one season came from Nov. 8-22, 1997.
Paddock also said Gerber would start versus the Thrashers while Ray Emery continues to nurse a sore hip.
"(Emery is) going to be able to back up, which means he'd be able to play," Paddock said. "He's obviously better than he was. We're not practicing (Friday), so we'll have a better read on exactly where he's at (Saturday) morning."
After winning eight of his first nine starts at home, Gerber has slumped badly there. In his last four starts at Scotiabank Center, he's 0-2-1 with a 5.95 GAA and has been pulled early in two of them. Overall, he's 14-4-1 with a 2.32 GAA.
Atlanta did little in a 4-0 home loss to Toronto on Friday. It was the Thrashers' third straight loss, matching their longest skid since general manager Don Waddell took over behind the bench after firing Bob Hartley following an 0-6-0 start.
"We gave away two goals," Atlanta defenseman Ken Klee said. "We gave away one on our power play and then the bank one at (goaltender) Kari (Lehtonen). A couple of bad bounces like that when you are struggling is enough."
Ilya Kovalchuk, the league's leading goal-scorer with 24, scored three times in the third period on Nov. 1 against the Senators, but the Thrashers fell short in a 6-4 road loss. He has nine goals and five assists in 10 career games at Ottawa.
Marian Hossa, acquired by the Thrashers in 2005 for Heatley, seeks to continue putting up points against his former team. Hossa has points in eight of nine meetings since the trade, totaling three goals and 13 assists.
|Dec 20 '07||OTT 2 at ATL 3||T. White|
|Dec 15 '07||ATL 3 at OTT 7||J. Corvo|
|Nov 01 '07||ATL 4 at OTT 6||D. Alfredsson|
|Oct 10 '07||OTT 3 at ATL 1||A. Vermette|