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Preview: Senators at Flyers

Ottawa after better results on offense, power play; goalie Steve Mason starts for Philadelphia

by Adam Kimelman @NHLAdamK / Deputy Managing Editor

SENATORS (9-5-1) at FLYERS (7-7-2)

7 p.m. ET; CSN-PH, RDS2, TSN5, NHL.TV


Senators team scope

Ottawa Senators coach Guy Boucher said the key to better offensive play starts with improved play in the defensive zone. The Senators have scored two goals or fewer in nine straight games and one goal in four of their past six, including a 2-1 overtime loss to the Minnesota Wild on Sunday. The area that bothered Boucher the most was the season-high 42 shots on goal the Senators allowed. "That can't be us," he said. "We started to cheat to get more offense. You don't empty the defensive side to fill the offensive side. You don't get more, you get less on both sides. We've got to work as hard offensively as we do defensively." An improved power play would help the offense; the Senators are 0-for-12 in their past four games and 1-for-24 in their past eight. Defenseman Erik Karlsson, who plays the point on the power play, said there's no structural changes needed. "We have to get it done some way," he said. "I think we have the people to do that. We just have to find a way to execute a little better. Hopefully one can go in and the rest can follow."


Flyers team scope

With Michal Neuvirth out 4-6 weeks because of a lower-body injury, Steve Mason has become the Philadelphia Flyers' unquestioned No. 1 goaltender. "You never want to see anyone go down with an injury but it's part of sports, it happens," Mason said. "Just creates opportunities for other people." Mason's workload is about to increase but he's hoping for similar results to last season, when an injury to Neuvirth forced Mason to play 12 straight games, and his strong play during that stretch was a big reason the Flyers made the Stanley Cup Playoffs. "If anything it simplifies things," Mason said. "You want to play every single game and when you're not it's a mental grind. Here things are clarified a little bit." Mason has an .880 save percentage in 11 games this season but began to resemble the goalie who had a .926 save percentage in his late run last season when he replaced Neuvirth for the final two periods of a 3-2 defeat of the Wild on Saturday, including a spectacular save on Eric Staal with 7.7 seconds left in the third period. "He's had stretches of real good play and a little bit of inconsistency the first month," coach Dave Hakstol said. "He's got to clean up some of that inconsistency and hopefully the last two periods that he played was a really good sign as he snowballs that into a good performance today."


Senators projected lineup

Ryan Dzingel -- Kyle Turris -- Bobby Ryan

Mike Hoffman -- Derick Brassard -- Mark Stone

Zack Smith -- Jean-Gabriel Pageau -- Tom Pyatt

Matt Puempel -- Chris Kelly -- Chris Neil

Marc Methot -- Erik Karlsson

Dion Phaneuf -- Cody Ceci

Mark Borowiecki -- Chris Wideman

Craig Anderson

Mike Condon

Scratched: Fredrik Claesson, Andrew Hammond

Injured: Clarke MacArthur (concussion)


Flyers projected lineup

Brayden Schenn -- Claude Giroux -- Wayne Simmonds

Travis Konecny -- Sean Couturier -- Jakub Voracek

Michael Raffl -- Pierre-Edouard Bellemare -- Dale Weise

Chris VandeVelde -- Nick Cousins -- Matt Read

Brandon Manning -- Shayne Gostisbehere

Ivan Provorov -- Mark Streit

Michael Del Zotto -- Radko Gudas

Steve Mason

Anthony Stolarz

Scratched: Nick Schultz, Roman Lyubimov

Injured: Michal Neuvirth (lower body), Boyd Gordon (upper body), Andrew MacDonald (lower body)


Status report

Methot will play after being limited to 3:45 of ice time against the Wild because of a lower-body injury. Boucher said Claesson will skate during the pregame warmup but is not expected to play. The Senators did not have a morning skate. MacArthur, who hasn't played since sustaining a concussion Sept. 25, skated with a few teammates but Boucher said nothing has changed in his status. "It's a long process," he said. "Not a day-to-day process." … The Flyers had an optional morning skate. Hakstol said he will use the same lineup he did against the Wild on Saturday. MacDonald was a full participant but will miss his sixth straight game. Simmonds was on the ice after missing practice Monday because he was sick.


Who's hot

Karlsson has three points in his past two games. … Voracek has one goal and five assists in his past four games, and nine points in his past eight.

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