The Senators won't have any problem getting up to play in Vancouver Sunday night. Not only is there the "measuring stick" aspect of facing a team that went to Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Final last summer, but they've already got a pre-game speech ready.
It will sound a lot like the one they used to end a length drought in Calgary, where they hadn't won since 2003, a streak of five-straight that ended with a 3-1 win on Tuesday.
Ottawa hasn't won in Vancouver since 2004, a drought exacerbated by the lack of head-to-head meetings with Western Conference teams. Still, the Canucks have won seven of the last eight meetings dating back to 2005-06, and done so by a total score of 29-13.
"We have a tape recording of whatever was said in Calgary and we're going to play that again," defenseman Chris Phillips
said. "I can't remember exactly what was said but it was a while since we won in there so we'll try to do that. Year to year it is different guys and different scenarios, but obviously we'd like to change that and get a win here."
To do so the Senators will try not to change anything else.
Their yo-yo of a season is back on a winning streak upswing with three-straight victories through four stops of a six-game road trip that will end in Pittsburgh on Friday. Coming off wins in Calgary and Edmonton, they've got a chance to sweep a Western Canadian swing for the first time in franchise history with a win at Rogers Arena Sunday.
It has started with a tighter effort in their end, and needs to include staying out of penalty trouble to keep a 23rd-ranked penalty kill way from the Canucks' No.1 power play.
"These guys were in the Stanley Cup final last year and it's going to take what we've been doing," Phillips said. "A solid effort just trying to keep it simple and force other teams to really work at getting their chances, to not give stuff up, and take advantage of that. It's been working for us lately and we want to keep it going."
Ottawa is expected to so with the same lineup that won in Alberta, including fours goals the last two games from what has been a strong fourth line of late:
- Jason Spezza
- Milan Michalek
- Stephane Da Costa
- Daniel Alfredsson
- Zack Smith
- Erik Condra
- Jesse Winchester
- Bobby Butler
- Filip Kuba
- Sergei Gonchar
- Brian Lee
start again in goal, with former Canuck Alex Auld