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Devils look for turnaround against Senators

by Mike G. Morreale /

SENATORS (20-14-6) at DEVILS (15-15-10)


Last 10: Senators 5-5-0, Devils 2-4-4

Season series: The Ottawa Senators won the previous two meetings in shootouts, 2-1 on Feb. 18 at Prudential Center and 3-2 on March 25 at Scotiabank Place. This is the last regular-season clash between the teams.

Big story: Not only are the New Jersey Devils in the midst of an eight-game losing streak, but they will be without defensemen Anton Volchenkov (suspension) for four games and possibly Bryce Salvador (wrist). Salvador took a shot off the wrist from defenseman Zdeno Chara early in the second period in a loss to the Boston Bruins on Wednesday and never returned. With eight games remaining, the Devils are on thin ice in 10th place in the Eastern Conference standings.

"We know the spot we're in and there are two choices," Devils coach Peter DeBoer said. "You roll over and die, or you get up and find a way to turn one win into six or seven, or whatever it's going to take."

Team Scope:

Senators: Ottawa snapped its five-game losing streak on Thursday when Colin Greening snapped a 1-1 tie on a power-play goal with 5:26 left in regulation on the way to a 3-1 road win against the Philadelphia Flyers. Zack Smith and Daniel Alfredsson also scored for the Senators, and Robin Lehner stopped 24 shots. Ottawa maintained a hold on sixth place in the Eastern Conference with 46 points, the same number as the New York Islanders; the Senators have played one fewer game.

"We stuck with it, and obviously it's two really important points for us," Alfredsson said.

Devils: The Devils certainly didn't get off to the start they needed on Wednesday against the Boston Bruins with their playoff hopes in jeopardy. Not only did they fail to capitalize on four power-play opportunities, including a pair of 5-on-3s, but the Bruins connected for two shorthanded goals and barely missed a third when Johnny Boychuk's penalty shot with his team down a man was denied by Martin Brodeur. The Devils mounted a comeback but lost 5-4 and were without Salvador (wrist) and Volchenkov (game misconduct) by the end of the night.

"I have no idea [what happened in the first] and I'm a little speechless," DeBoer said after the game. "We came out, created some power-play opportunities … and you guys saw what happened. They scored two shorthanded goals. It can't happen."

Who's hot: Mika Zibanejad, who centers the Senators all-rookie line with left wing Cory Conacher and right wing Jakob Silfverberg, has 10 assists and a plus-5 rating over the past 12 games.

Injury report: The Senators are without forwards Jason Spezza (back), Milan Michalek (knee) and Mike Hoffman (upper body), and defensemen Erik Karlsson (Achilles) and Jared Cowen (hip). … Right wing Ilya Kovalchuk (shoulder), Salvador and backup goalie Johan Hedberg (lower body) are questionable for the Devils. Adam Larsson, who missed Wednesday's game with a foot injury, is expected to return to the lineup.

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