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Avs go for five in a row as Senators come to town

by John Kreiser /

SENATORS (14-16-3) at AVALANCHE (17-10-4)


Last 10 -- Ottawa 4-4-2; Colorado 5-2-3

Season series -- It's the only meeting of the season between the teams, and just the fifth in the last six seasons. Colorado has won the last three, including a 4-3 victory at Ottawa last Dec. 30

Big story -- The Avs are on a roll -- they've won their last four and completed a home-and-home sweep of Chicago on Wednesday with a 4-3 road victory. They'll have to generate some emotion as they host a team they don't see often -- Ottawa hasn't been to the Pepsi Center for nearly two years -- and that will be trying for a sweep of a quick two-game trip after winning Thursday night in Minnesota.

Team Scope:

Senators -- Maybe all the Senators needed to snap out of their slump was to bring their dads along. They started a two-game trip that included the players' fathers with a 3-1 win at Minnesota on Thursday.

"You always want to make your dad proud," said forward Nick Foligno, whose second-period goal put the Senators ahead to stay -- and whose father is former NHL star Mike Foligno. "Sometimes it's tougher to have your dad yelling at you than your coach."

Avalanche -- It's too early to say the Avs got the better of Washington in the recent trade that sent defenseman Scott Hannan to the Caps for center Tomas Fleischmann, but there's little doubt that Colorado is happy with its end of the deal. Fleischmann has 5 goals and 10 points in seven games with the Avs, including a hat trick in Wednesday's win at Chicago.

Fleischmann was often overshadowed by the big names on the Caps, but he's fit right in with the improving Avs.

"We're trying to put him in a position where he can succeed," coach Joe Sacco said. "I think it's a fresh start for him."

Who's hot -- Ottawa defenseman Erik Karlsson assisted on all three goals against the Wild and has 7 points in five games. … Fleischmann is coming off a three-goal night against the Blackhawks on Wednesday after scoring the tying goal and setting up the winner at home against Chicago two nights earlier.

Injury report -- Ottawa defenseman Matt Carkner is on IR with an ankle injury. … Colorado center Paul Stastny reportedly has a sore back after being hit into the boards on Thursday. He'll be evaluated to see if he can play. The Avs' Milan Hedjuk has missed the last three games with a groin injury. Peter Mueller (head), T.J. Galiardi (broken wrist), Kyle Cumiskey (head), Kyle Quincey (shoulder) and Chris Stewart (hand) are also out, though Galiardi may be able to return after missing 17 games.

Stat pack -- Ottawa is one of the few NHL teams that has fared better as a visitor since the Quebec Nordiques became the Avs in 1995; the Senators were 0-8-0 in Quebec, but are 3-4-1-1 in Denver.

Puck drop -- Colorado's four-game winning streak is its longest since winning six in a row last January, and second-year center Matt Duchene just wants to keep things rolling as the Avs start a stretch that will see them play 15 of 19  games at home.

"Everything is going well for us right now. We're playing well and getting some bounces here and there," Duchene told the Denver Post. "You just want to keep it going as long as possible. Personally, you're going to cool off at some point - hopefully not - but you want to keep that hot streak going as long as possible."

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