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At the Rink: Senators at Blues

by Louie Korac

ST. LOUIS -- Coach Dave Cameron is planning a makeover to his lineup when the Ottawa Senators face the St. Louis Blues on Monday (8 p.m. ET; RDS, TSN5, FS-MW).

Cameron didn't know what that lineup would look like as of early Monday afternoon other than goalie Andrew Hammond starting in place of Craig Anderson, but the Senators are looking for a spark after being shut out in back-to-back games, including 3-0 Sunday against the Chicago Blackhawks.

Ottawa has gone without a goal for 135:38.

"I told the coaches on the plane [Sunday] night to come in this morning with their line combinations, so I've got more numbers than a bingo problem sitting in front of me now. They're not finalized yet," Cameron said after the Senators optional morning skate.

"… We have to play the right way. No matter how skilled you are offensively, if you don't have the puck, you're not going to score, so you have to be more committed to getting the puck back. It's harder this time of year. Teams just don't want to give it to you. So you have to play the system to get it back, and then when we get it, we have to make sure we hold onto it; we don't give it back. We're not a one-and-done team in the O-zone. If we tighten up in those areas, it's a fine line. It's not a huge amount that we have to do it, but it's that fine line, that extra that you need."

The Blues, who have scored one goal in three of the past four games, are having issues of their own, particularly in the 5-on-5 game, where they are a plus-2 (65-63).

"I think if you look at the big picture, we've got to do a better job at what everybody calls red zone," Blues coach Ken Hitchcock said. "We've got to do a better job offensively and defensively in the red-zone area, so that's what we practiced today. We had a lot of red-zone drills today. I think they have a same term in football that's similar for us. At the end of the day, you can talk all you want about scoring chances and about opportunities and that, but I think both offensively and defensively, we've got to do a better job in that area of the ice."

The Blues will make one lineup change, inserting forward Scottie Upshall for Kyle Brodziak.

Goalie Brian Elliott, a ninth-round pick in the 2003 NHL Draft by the Senators, will get the start.

Here are the projected lineups:


Zack Smith - Kyle Turris - Mark Stone

Mike Hoffman - Mika Zibanejad - Bobby Ryan

Max McCormick - Jean-Gabriel Pageau - Alex Chiasson

Shane Prince - Curtis Lazar - Chris Neil

Fredrik Claesson - Erik Karlsson

Patrick Wiercioch - Mark Borowiecki

Marc Methot - Chris Wideman

Andrew Hammond

Craig Anderson

Injured: Cody Ceci (upper body), Milan Michalek (finger), Clarke MacArthur (concussion), Chris Phillips (back)

Scratched: Jared Cowen, Dave Dziurzynski


Alexander Steen - Paul Stastny - Vladimir Tarasenko

Magnus Paajarvi - David Backes - Patrik Berglund

Robby Fabbri - Jori Lehtera - Troy Brouwer

Scottie Upshall - Dmitrij Jaskin - Ryan Reaves

Jay Bouwmeester - Alex Pietrangelo

Joel Edmundson - Kevin Shattenkirk

Carl Gunnarsson - Colton Parayko

Brian Elliott

Jake Allen

Injured: Jaden Schwartz (ankle), Steve Ott (hamstring)

Scratched: Kyle Brodziak, Robert Bortuzzo

Status report: With Brodziak out, Jaskin will center the Blues' fourth line. Hitchcock said Brodziak needs to get his conditioning up to par after he missed five games recently with an injury related to a skate cut sustained Dec. 17. … Cameron will move players around but will keep the same skaters in that played in Chicago on Sunday.

Who's hot: Ryan has 27 points (15 goals, 12 assists) in 22 games against St. Louis. Most of those came with the Anaheim Ducks. … Elliott is 2-0-1 with a 1.65 goals-against average and .942 save percentage in four games against Ottawa.

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