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Backup goaltender Ray Emery makes his first start of the season for the Ottawa Senators on Thursday night when they host the Calgary Flames.

Emery will replace a struggling Martin Gerber, who has lost his last two starts for Ottawa (1-2-0). Gerber was pulled last Thursday after allowing five goals on 24 shots in a 6-0 loss to Toronto in the Senators' home opener and gave up four more goals on 24 shots two days later in a 4-3 loss to Buffalo.

With four days off before Thursday's game, coach Bryan Murray worked his team out for more than two hours Tuesday and Wednesday in an attempt to sort out the problems.

He absolved Gerber of some blame for last Saturday's loss, blaming his team's inability to maintain control of the puck.

"All four goals were scored off turnovers," Murray said. "Sometimes, like it or not, you just have to put the puck behind their defenders and just try to retrieve it. You have to understand the score, and what time of the game it is."

Emery is not the only change expected. Dany Heatley, Jason Spezza and Daniel Alfredsson will likely be together on the top line for the first time this season.

"I don't think it's any time to panic," Spezza said. "We know we have to be a better team, especially to start off games."

One reason for that change is the team's anemic performance on the power play. Ottawa is just 1-for-19 on the year with the man advantage - and 0-for-13 at home.

"(On the power play) we're not moving and we're not moving the puck," Murray said. "We get locked in one corner and we try passes that don't have to be tried. We have some ability on the blue line, who can pass and shoot. The puck doesn't go back enough."

Heatley has yet to score this season, although he has four assists. He led the Senators with a career-high 50 goals a season ago.

The Flames (1-2-0) are also considering changes to their top line. Left wing Kristian Huselius may replace newcomer Alex Tanguay after Huselius practiced with Jarome Iginla and Daymond Langkow earlier in the week.

Tanguay has a goal and assist in three games with Calgary, which has scored just four times and looking to get its offense untracked.

"I know, personally, I have to look at myself and realize what I have to do better to help the team," Tanguay said.

First-year Flames coach Jim Playfair said his team is still searching for its identity.

"We've been hoping it comes back," he said. "Now it is going to be non-negotiable. We have to go get it. We have to go find it. We have to re-establish our identity. We've seen how our team has to play as players, as coaches, as management and as fans. We have to increase the work ethic details in our game."

Calgary, which is beginning a four-game road trip against Eastern Conference foes, is 2-5-3 all-time at Ottawa. This is the Flames' first visit to the nation's capital since Feb. 21, 2004.

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