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Emotional day for Senators before they face Canes

by Mike G. Morreale
SENATORS (9-8-1) at HURRICANES (8-9-0)

TV -- TSN 2 (HD), FS-CR (HD)

Last 10 -- Ottawa 7-3-0; Carolina 4-6-0

Season series -- This is the second of four meetings between the teams. Carolina went 2-1-1 against Ottawa last season, but the Senators came away with a 3-2 victory in their first game this season, Oct. 14, as Mike Fisher scored twice and Brian Elliott made 19 saves.

Big story -- The Senators returned to Ottawa instead of heading to Raleigh following Monday's game in Philadelphia in order to attend the Celebration of Life service Wednesday morning at Scotiabank Place for the 14-year-old daughter of assistant coach Luke Richardson, Daron Richardson, who died Saturday.

"To a man, (we thought) it was the right thing to do," captain Daniel Alfredsson said of the team's decision to return home to show their support. "We want to be there for their family and help them out in any way we can. As far as the road trip goes, we'll just take it as it comes. This is an issue that's more important than the game and I'm sure we'll find enough energy to play that night and I think it might even be a good thing for the team."

Team Scope:

Senators --
After opening November with four straight victories, the Senators have dropped two of their last three, including a 5-1 setback to the surging Philadelphia Flyers on Monday. Jason Spezza scored Ottawa's lone goal in the first period. He now has 6 goals and 8 assists in 14 games.

Hurricanes -- Goalie Cam Ward had a strong start to the season but has struggled recently, and has been pulled in consecutive games. In his last outing against the Montreal Canadiens, a team against which he sported a career mark of 11-3-2, he allowed four goals on 22 shots en route to a 7-2 loss. Backup goalie Justin Peters didn't fair much better when he was inserted into the game, yielding three goals on 11 shots. Both goalies allowed four goals on 13 shots in an 8-1 loss to Philadelphia last Thursday.

Who's hot -- Spezza's line, with left wing Peter Regin and right wing Alex Kovalev, continues to be the team's top unit, with 19 points over the last six games.

Injury report -- Ottawa defenseman Brian Lee is day-to-day with a with a neck injury. … There are no injuries to report for Carolina.

Stat pack -- Kovalev, who has 5 goals and 9 points in 18 games this season, is one point shy of 1,000 for his career (417 goals, 582 assists). He has 4 points in his last five games. … Carolina center Eric Staal needs one goal to reach 200 for his NHL career.

Puck drop -- Carolina's 2010 first-round draft pick (No. 7) Jeff Skinner leads all NHL rookies with 6 goals and 15 points, and is tied for third with a 13.6 shooting percentage. Skinner netted his first NHL goal Oct. 20, beating Los Angeles goalie Jonathan Bernier, to become the youngest player in franchise history to score a goal (18 years, 157 days).
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