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Coming off one of their worst performances of the season, the Carolina Hurricanes try to regroup by taking advantage of the reeling Ottawa Senators on Tuesday when the teams meet at Scotiabank Place.
The Hurricanes (21-17-5) are trying to salvage one win on a three-game road trip during which they have looked listless. After a 4-2 loss at Florida on Thursday, Carolina fell 5-1 at Eastern Conference-leading Boston on Saturday as Cam Ward was chased after allowing three goals on 12 shots.
"We won't be bragging about that game," Hurricanes coach Paul Maurice said. "We were excited to play them, but didn't have the puck enough to compete."
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With Ward allowing six goals on 42 shots in the last two games, Maurice may give backup Michael Leighton his first start since Dec. 23. He made 18 saves in relief Saturday and turned aside 22 shots in a 2-1 victory over Ottawa on Nov. 7.
Carolina has not lost three straight since Nov. 23-26, and is 9-6-3 since Maurice took over for the fired Peter Laviolette on Dec. 3.
Justin Williams, who scored for the Hurricanes on Saturday, has two goals and two assists in his last four games after being held without a point in the previous seven. Eric Staal leads the team with 18 goals, but he's failed to score one in his last four games.
The Senators (13-21-6) are 0-4-1 in their last five following a 2-0 home loss to the New York Rangers on Saturday. Rookie Brian Elliott made 25 saves for Ottawa, which was shut out for the third time in its last 15 games.
"I felt I was seeing the puck pretty well and the guys were keeping the shots from outside," Elliott said. "I did not do too bad but obviously you want to be perfect. But it's not a perfect world.
"I tried my hardest out there and hopefully we can get on a winning streak here at home. Obviously, I want to be a part of that."
Elliott may have earned his second start of the season as the Senators look to snap out of a funk that has seen them go 3-11-2 since their last back-to-back wins Dec. 3 and 6.
While their top players - Dany Heatley, Daniel Alfredsson and Jason Spezza - have combined for only 13 goals in those 16 games, the Senators have gotten next to nothing all season from second-line players Antoine Vermette and Mike Fisher.
Vermette and Fisher combined for 47 goals last season, but they have totaled seven in 2008-09. Vermette has managed two goals during Ottawa's 16-game funk while Fisher has gone 19 games without a goal, with five assists in that stretch.
In the Nov. 7 game, former Senators defenseman Joe Corvo assisted on Dennis Seidenberg's tying goal with 8:54 left before scoring the winner with 2:40 to play. Fisher scored the lone goal for Ottawa.