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With one high-scoring superstar already sidelined by injury, the Ottawa Senators will be holding their breath as they wait on the status of another.
Leading scorer Daniel Alfredsson will be a game-time decision on Saturday night when the Eastern Conference-leading Senators (30-12-4) meet the Tampa Bay Lightning at Scotiabank Place.
Alfredsson, who has 29 goals and 60 points this season, left early in the second period of Thursday's 5-1 win over Carolina with a hip flexor injury
"It's a little sore today, but better than yesterday, so it's day by day," said the Senators captain after he missed Friday's practice. "I started feeling it in the first period (Thursday) and aggravated it a little bit on the first shift of the second, so just to make sure it doesn't get worse, I decided to go off.
"We'll see how it reacts to treatment here and go from there."
The Senators already are without Dany Heatley, their second-leading scorer, for up to five more weeks due to a separated right shoulder suffered last Saturday in a 3-2 win over league-best Detroit. Ottawa has since dropped two of three, scoring just three goals in the losses.
Ottawa leads the East with 162 goals scored this season, thanks in large part to the line of Alfredsson, Heatley and Jason Spezza, which has combined for 70 goals and 101 assists.
"We may have to win 2-1 instead of 4-1 ... but you can't change too much because those guys are missing," Spezza said. "We're going to have to find a way to win. We had a five-goal outburst last night, but we're probably not going to get five every night. We're just going to have to buckle down."
Antoine Vermette picked up the scoring slack against the Hurricanes with his first two-goal game since December 2006, and Martin Gerber made 36 saves for his 21st win.
"We're comfortable with the depth that we have so that we can play well as a team and win some games," Vermette said.
Ottawa is 1-0-1 this season against Tampa Bay, posting the win at home on Jan. 5. Mike Fisher - off an assist from Alfredsson - scored 3:17 into overtime for a 4-3 victory, the Senators' 16th in 18 home games against the Lightning since January 1998.
Tampa Bay (18-24-5) bounced back from being blanked by Colorado on Tuesday with its first shutout win this season, 3-0 over Pittsburgh on Friday.
Andre Roy, who entered with just three goals in 46 games, had a career-high three points on a goal and two assists against his former club.
"It's a team that gave up on me," said Roy, who was signed by Pittsburgh in 2005 following the NHL lockout only to be released last season after five games. "It's not like I was trying to get revenge or anything, it just happened like that."
The Lightning improved to 2-9-0 this season when neither Vincent Lecavalier nor Martin St. Louis tallies a point. Lecavalier is tied with Pittsburgh's Sidney Crosby and Atlanta's Ilya Kovalchuk for the league scoring lead with 63 points. St. Louis leads the Lightning with 36 assists and is second with 53 points.
Lecavalier has three goals and five assists during a five-game point streak against Ottawa, while St. Louis has three goals and six assists in a six-game run.
Tampa Bay has the worst record in the East and is an NHL-worst 6-14-3 on the road this season. Still, the Lightning will be looking for their first three-game road winning streak since taking four straight from Jan. 18-Feb. 1, 2007.