Sens return home to face Hurricanes
Saturday, 11.26.2011 / 11:26 PM
HURRICANES (8-12-4) AT SENATORS (10-10-2)
: FS-CR, SNET-OTT, TVA
: Carolina 3-6-1, Ottawa 3-5-2.
: Ottawa took the first meeting of the season 3-2 in a shootout on Oct. 25 in Raleigh, N.C. Carolina won the final three meetings last season by a combined 15-4 margin.
: A pair of teams who aim to start moving back toward the top eight in the Eastern Conference.
: Things looked bleak in Raleigh heading into last weekend, but the Hurricanes collected victories against Toronto and at Philadelphia and things seemed to be going in the right direction. Now, the Hurricanes have lost two in a row and are again looking to get untracked.
Offence has definitely been an issue at times for Carolina. The Hurricanes have scored one or fewer goals in four of the past five losses. The latest was a 3-1 setback at home to Winnipeg.
"They were just more physical than we were and faster than we were," Carolina coach Paul Maurice said. "The summary of what we did with the puck was foolish, and we just didn't compete hard enough."
: Ottawa had shook off a five-game losing streak by winning three in a row, but the Senators have since dropped a 2-1 overtime decision at Vancouver before four days off and then a 6-3 defeat at Pittsburgh on Friday. The Penguins ripped off four goals in less than eight minutes and held a 4-1 lead before the first period was halfway complete.
"I think the game was lost in the first five minutes by not being prepared to play," Ottawa coach Paul MacLean said. "That's my responsibility, to make sure the team is ready to play."
: Jiri Tlusty had the lone goal for Carolina in the loss to Winnipeg and has tallies in back-to-back games after only two in his first 22 games. Ottawa defenceman Sergei Gonchar
did not play well last year, but he's got a point in five of the past six games and has 14 on the season.
: The Hurricanes have been without defenceman Joni Pitkanen for eight games because of a lower-body injury. Fellow blueliner Jay Harrison was out against Winnipeg with an upper-body injury. Both are considered day-to-day … The Senators are currently without right wing Chris Neil
(sprained ankle), centre Peter Regin
(shoulder surgery) and defenceman Matt Carkner
: The Hurricanes could use drastic improvement as a team in two areas — on the power play (29th at 12.2 per cent) and shots allowed (tied for 25th at 32.0 per contest). Ottawa might be the right opponent for Carolina -- the Senators are 26th on the penalty kill (79.2 per cent). The Hurricanes are third in the league in blocked shots with 216, but that’s another number that could come down with better defense/more puck possession.
: The Senators are giving Nikita Filatov
another shot at the NHL level, calling the Russian winger up today and sending centre Stephane Da Costa
down to the Binghamton Senators (AHL). Filatov recorded 12 points (5-7) in 15 games with the B-Sens, but has just one assist with the big club.
In another lineup change, defenceman David Rundblad will return to action against the Hurricanes after sitting out the last four games as a healthy scratch. That means Brian Lee is out tonight. Craig Anderson
gets the start in goal.
Tonight's home matchup with the Hurricanes follows a six-game road stretch, but the Senators won't have much time to get comfortable in the friendly confines of Scotiabank Place. They'll head to Winnipeg after this one to start a three-game road trip that includes matchups with the Jets on Tuesday (8:30 p.m., Sportsnet East, Team 1200), the Dallas Stars on Thursday (8:30 p.m., Sportsnet Sens, Team 1200) and the Washington Capitals on Saturday (7 p.m., CBC, Team 1200).