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Senators' Hoffman stays on fourth line against Hurricanes

Struggling forward remains demoted for key game at Carolina

by Kurt Dusterberg / NHL.com Correspondent

SENATORS (31-29-7) at HURRICANES (29-26-11)

TV: 7 p.m. ET; RDS2, TSN5, FS-CR, NHL.TV

RALEIGH, N.C. -- Forward Mike Hoffman will remain on the fourth line when the Ottawa Senators face the Carolina Hurricanes at PNC Arena on Tuesday.

Hoffman played on the fourth line in Ottawa's 2-1 loss to the Dallas Stars on Sunday and coach Dave Cameron is sticking with the same lineup.

Hoffman's 25 goals lead the Senators, but he has one in his past 11 games. He was benched for the third period of a 3-2 win against the Toronto Maple Leafs on Saturday. Asked if he got the message from Cameron, Hoffman paused and said, "Yeah."

Hoffman, who had a couple giveaways on the power play against the Maple Leafs, said he knows when he is at his best.

"Obviously playing with my speed and having confidence [to make] plays with the puck, and putting pucks in the net," Hoffman said.

The Senators and Hurricanes, each with 69 points, will continue their late-season push toward the Stanley Cup Playoffs. Each team remains outside of playoff position in the Eastern Conference, six points behind the Detroit Red Wings, who occupy the second wild card position. 

Scott Gomez will play his fourth game with the Senators after signing a one-year contract on March 2. The 36-year-old center played 21 games with the St. Louis Blues earlier in the season and, more recently, 18 with Hershey of the American Hockey League. He said he is close to playing at NHL game speed.

"It's getting around that time when it should be full go," Gomez said. "Once you get out there, it's an NHL game and your instincts have got to take over. As long as the legs are going, that's the important part."

Carolina will have one new face in the lineup. Forward Brendan Woods, who has 15 points in 48 games in Charlotte this season, will get his second look in the NHL. He played two games with the Hurricanes last season.

Coach Bill Peters has indicated the Hurricanes will look at other players from the AHL, but he is careful to point out he is still focused on competing for the playoffs.

"What we will find out from now until the end of the year is who really fits and who has the right DNA to stay here over time and who doesn't," Peters said. "That's what we're doing. We're evaluating as we go and we're trying to win hockey games at the same time. We expect to be able to continue to do that."

Here are the projected lineups:

SENATORS

Zack Smith - Jean-Gabriel Pageau - Mark Stone

Nick Paul - Mika Zibanejad - Alex Chiasson

Ryan Dzingel - Scott Gomez - Bobby Ryan

Mike Hoffman - Curtis Lazar - Chris Neil

Marc Methot - Erik Karlsson

Dion Phaneuf - Cody Ceci

Michael Kostka - Chris Wideman

Andrew Hammond

Chris Driedger

Scratches: Patrick Wiercioch, Matt Puempel

Injuries: Mark Borowiecki (knee), Chris Phillips (back), Clarke MacArthur (concussion), Kyle Turris (ankle), Craig Anderson (lower body)

HURRICANES

Joakim Nordstrom - Jordan Staal - Elias Lindholm

Jeff Skinner - Victor Rask - Phillip Di Giuseppe

Nathan Gerbe - Riley Nash - Brad Malone

Brendan Woods - Jay McClement - Chris Terry  

Jaccob Slavin - Ron Hainsey

Noah Hanifin - Brett Pesce

Michal Jordan - Ryan Murphy

Cam Ward  

Eddie Lack

Injuries: James Wisniewski (knee), Andrej Nestrasil (back)

Scratches: None

Status report: Hurricanes forwards Brock McGinn and Derek Ryan were returned to Charlotte. … Anderson will not dress against Carolina. He hopes to be ready to face the Florida Panthers on Thursday.

Who's hot: Methot and Smith each have two goals in the past three games. … Rask and Skinner each had a goal and an assist in a 4-3 overtime loss at the Tampa Bay Lightning on Saturday.

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