Daniel Alfredsson has helped the Ottawa Senators to the best record in the Eastern Conference. He likely won't be available, however, to help his team break out of their current slump.
The Senators are expected to be without their leading scorer Saturday as they try to avoid their first three-game losing streak of the season when they host the Philadelphia Flyers.
Alfredsson is among the league leaders with 16 goals and 14 assists, but a groin injury will likely force him to miss his first game of season for the Senators (16-4-1), who haven't lost three in a row since March 2-6.
The Senators captain, who has spent his entire 12-year NHL career with Ottawa, suffered the injury while recording three assists in a 6-5 shootout loss to Pittsburgh on Thursday.
Alfredsson, who hasn't missed more than five games in any of his last five seasons, has five points in his last three games. He is considered day-to-day.
"If it improves again (Saturday), I'll probably try to skate and go from there," Alfredsson told the team's official Web site Friday. "The way it feels, it shouldn't be too bad. I've got pretty good range of motion, so we'll see how it feels tomorrow."
Despite a roster full of talented offensive players, the Senators can't afford to be without Alfredsson for an extended period of time. Ottawa has fallen a bit, going 3-3-1 since getting off to an NHL-record 13-1-0 start.
"We think he's the best player in the league so far this season," said Ottawa's Dany Heatley, who scored his 11th goal Thursday. "If he's not able to go, other guys are going to have to step up like they have in the past."
Coming off a 4-2 loss at Buffalo on Wednesday, Jason Spezza had two goals and an assist on Thursday for the Senators, who were unable to hold a 5-4 third-period lead and dropped two in a row for the first time this season.
"This one stings because we probably should have won," said Spezza, who has seven points in his last three contests. "I think we outplayed them, but we didn't, so you've got to learn from it."
Heatley, looking to extend his goal-scoring streak to four games, has eight goals and nine assists in 17 games against Philadelphia (12-7-2).
Ottawa's Martin Gerber allowed his season high for goals Thursday, but could bounce back Saturday, as he is 4-1-1 with a 1.96 goals-against average versus the Flyers.
The Senators, who haven't lost two in a row at home since dropping three straight from Dec. 9-21, 2006, look to win their fifth straight over Philadelphia after taking all four meetings between the teams last season.
Philadelphia overcame a three-goal deficit, but fell 4-3 in overtime to Washington on Friday for its third loss in four games. The Flyers are 6-6-2 since winning six of their first seven contests.
"I don't know if it was from the turkey or whatever, but we just didn't come out like we wanted," Philadelphia's Scott Hartnell said.
Mike Richards had a goal and an assist and tied the game with 4:15 left in regulation for the Flyers. Daniel Briere added his 11th goal after recording a hat trick in Philadelphia's 6-3 win at Carolina on Wednesday.
Richards had a goal and an assist in the Flyers' 3-2 loss at Ottawa on March 17 in these teams' most recent meeting.