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At the Rink: Sharks at Senators

by Chris Stevenson / NHL.com

OTTAWA -- Which team scores first will bear watching when the Ottawa Senators and the San Jose Sharks play at Canadian Tire Centre on Friday (7:30 p.m. ET; CSN-CA, RDS, TSN5).

The Senators are 10-1-0 when they score first, third in the NHL, and 6-10-5 when they give up the first goal.

It's an even more significant statistic for the Sharks, who are 13-1-0 when they score first, second in the League, and 3-13-1 when they give up the first goal.

The Senators have given up the first goal in their past seven games but have rebounded to win three of them.

"We've been able to win games. At the end of the day, whether you give up the first one or score the first one, if you win at the end of the night, that's all that matters," Senators goaltender Craig Anderson said. "It's just one of those things. Maybe if we did get the first goal, we'd just sit back and be in more trouble."

Anderson will start for the Senators. He had played 15 games in a row before Andrew Hammond, returning from a concussion, got the start in a 2-1 loss to the Washington Capitals on Wednesday.

Senators coach Dave Cameron said he doesn't want to make too big a deal out of scoring the first goal.

"All our focus is on how we play," he said. "If you score first, it's obviously an advantage. If you don't, you're chasing the game. You don't want to overemphasize it, because what if you don't score first? We focus on how we have to play and let the chips fall where they may."

San Jose coach Peter DeBoer said he expects the same focus and determination from the Sharks even after they allow the first goal.

“We see the same stats and we know the relevance, but at the same time, I don't think you can overemphasize it, because there are a lot of nights you don't get the first goal and you have to keep battling. You can't just pack it in. While we're aware of it, we're not spending a ton of time on it. We're concentrating more on quick starts, and hopefully that leads to more first goals.”

Cameron said he wouldn't settle on his lineup until game time because some of his players are banged up.

Forward Curtis Lazar had a sore neck after a check by Capitals forward Tom Wilson on Wednesday but said he felt better Friday.

Cameron has dressed seven defensemen for the past five games. Defenseman Mark Borowiecki has played mostly at left wing.

At the morning skate, Borowiecki was back on the blue line and forward Shane Prince, who has been a healthy scratch for the past five games, was skating on the fourth line.

Defenseman Jared Cowen played 11:08 against the Capitals, his lowest total this season, so he could be a candidate to come out of the lineup.

The Sharks did not skate Friday morning after their 5-4 win in overtime against the Toronto Maple Leafs on Thursday. Defenseman Brent Burns scored the game-winner and had two assists.

The Sharks are 2-0-0 on their five-game road trip which started with a win against the Montreal Canadiens. That victory ended a six-game losing streak (0-5-1).

Here are the projected lineups:

SHARKS

Dainius ZubrusJoe ThorntonJoe Pavelski

Melker KarlssonPatrick MarleauJoel Ward

Joonas DonskoiChris TierneyTommy Wingels

Matt NietoTomas HertlMike Brown

Paul MartinBrent Burns

Marc-Edouard VlasicJustin Braun

Brenden DillonDylan DeMelo

Alex Stalock

Martin Jones

Injured: Ben Smith (upper body), Logan Couture (lower body)

Scratched: Matt Tennyson, Barclay Goodrow

SENATORS

Mike HoffmanMika ZibanejadBobby Ryan

Zack SmithKyle TurrisMark Stone

Dave DziurzynskiJean-Gabriel PageauAlex Chiasson

Shane PrinceCurtis LazarChris Neil

Marc Methot - Erik Karlsson

Patrick Wiercioch - Cody Ceci

Mark BorowieckiChris Wideman

Craig Anderson

Andrew Hammond

Injured: Chris Phillips (back), Clarke MacArthur (concussion), Milan Michalek (finger)

Scratched: Jared Cowen

Status report: Hertl returned to play 12 minutes against the Toronto Maple Leafs on Thursday after missing the game Tuesday against the Montreal Canadiens.

Who's hot: Pavelski has two goals and three assists in his past two games. Braun has three assists in his past two games. … Erik Karlsson has a goal and two assists in his past two games.

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