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At the Rink: Senators at Blues

by Louie Korac

ST. LOUIS -- For the second time in four days, the Ottawa Senators and St. Louis Blues will have the opportunity to reacquaint.

The Senators and Blues play for the second and final time this season Tuesday at Scottrade Center. St. Louis defeated Ottawa 3-2 last Saturday at Canadian Tire Centre.

The Senators are coming off a 4-3 loss to the Detroit Red Wings on Monday and are expecting a heavy game from the Blues.

"They play a NASCAR kind of game, as I call it," Senators coach Paul MacLean said. "They're always trading bumps into you and if you're not willing to do that ... you have to go on the ice and demand your space on the ice. The only way you can do that in that type of game is give it back and be willing to take it.

"... I think it's a great opportunity for us to come back and show that we can compete and be a team that can be reckoned with. We didn't have our best effort [Monday] night. At the end of the day, it's still a one-goal game. The game was still a one-goal game halfway through the game and we could have done a better job getting the game to the third period to give ourselves a better chance. Tonight we know we have a good opponent in the Blues and it's going to be a tough game. It's an opportunity that we look forward to for us to show that we can play."

The Blues return to home off a four-game trip that saw them lose the first two before winning games against the Senators and Winnipeg Jets in back-to-back games. The familiarity of facing the same opponent twice in a short span can be beneficial.

"I think you know what their strengths are and their weaknesses," Blues coach Ken Hitchcock said. "I don't want to say it's an easy team to play, but it is an easy team to play because everything they do, we've seen before because of the belief system of the commonality between the coaching staffs. We see a lot of us in Ottawa; I'm sure they see a lot of us in them. ... The terminology's the same, the systems look the same, the way the team plays looks the same. I think you're comfortable knowing that you're not going to get surprised.

"The thing that you have to be ready for is the tempo. The tempo of the game is very fast. They play very fast, fast with the puck, fast without the puck. They put a lot of pressure on you and you've just got to be ready for it."

Blues defenseman Barret Jackman will move into third place on the franchise list for most games played with No. 745. He is tied with Brett Hull. Bernie Federko (927) and Brian Sutter (779) are first and second respectively.

"Brett is a good friend and obviously an idol in the city and an icon," Jackman said. "He's made hockey what it is in the city. Just to pass him, it's a pretty special feeling and to do it with the Blue note on is even better."

With a win Tuesday, Hitchcock can tie Mike Keenan for sixth place on the NHL's all-time coaching wins list with 672. The late Pat Quinn, who passed away Monday, is fifth with 684.

Here are the projected lineups:

SENATORS

Clarke MacArthur - Kyle Turris - Alex Chiasson

Bobby Ryan - David Legwand - Mika Zibanejad

Milan Michalek - Zack Smith - Chris Neil

Mike Hoffman - Curtis Lazar - Mark Stone

Mark Borowiecki - Erik Karlsson

Jared Cowen - Cody Ceci

Patrick Wiercioch - Eric Gryba

Robin Lehner

Craig Anderson

Scratched: Colin Greening, Erik Condra

Injured: Chris Phillips (undisclosed), Marc Methot (back/hip)

BLUES

Joakim Lindstrom - Paul Stastny - David Backes

Alexander Steen - Patrik Berglund - T.J. Oshie

Jaden Schwartz - Jori Lehtera - Vladimir Tarasenko

Steve Ott - Maxim Lapierre - Ryan Reaves

Barret Jackman - Alex Pietrangelo

Carl Gunnarsson - Kevin Shattenkirk

Chris Butler - Ian Cole

Brian Elliott

Jake Allen

Scratched: Chris Porter, Magnus Paajarvi

Injured: Jay Bouwmeester (lower body)

Status report: MacLean said that the Senators have a couple forwards that will be game-time decisions.... Bouwmeester will miss a second straight game after having a streak of 737 consecutive games snapped Sunday. Hitchcock said with a couple more days off, the Blues defenseman should be at or near 100 percent for back-to-back games Friday and Saturday. ... Phillips took part in the optional morning skate and MacLean said he's on track for a return but not Tuesday.

Who's hot: Pietrangelo has four assists in two games. ... Lehtera has at least a point in 11 of 12 games (14 points). ... Schwartz has a point in nine of 10 games (13 points). ... Ryan has a point streak of five games and has a point in six of seven. ... Karlsson has two goals and three assists during a four-game point streak.

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