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Preview: Senators at Flyers

Ottawa can close ground on first place in Atlantic; Philadelphia six points out of playoff spot with seven games remaining

by Adam Kimelman @NHLAdamK / Deputy Managing Editor

SENATORS (41-25-8) at FLYERS (35-32-8)

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


Senators team scope

The Ottawa Senators can pull within one point of the Montreal Canadiens for first place in the Atlantic Division with a win against the Philadelphia Flyers and a Canadiens loss to the Dallas Stars on Tuesday. But the Senators might not have their full complement of forwards; Zack Smith isn't feeling well and will be a game-time decision, coach Guy Boucher said. If Smith can't play, Boucher said he'll use 11 forwards and seven defensemen. That would allow defenseman Jyrki Jokipakka to play for the first time since he was acquired in a trade with the Calgary Flames on March 1. Jokipakka has six points (one goal, five assists) in 38 games but hasn't played since Feb. 5. "He's a guy that's got good mobility, good size (6-foot-3, 215 pounds)," Boucher said. "He makes good, simple plays." This will be Ottawa's second of five straight road games, a segment the Senators believe is their most important of the season; it began with a 3-1 loss at the Canadiens on Saturday. "We talked beforehand this would be our most important road trip," forward Bobby Ryan said. "Coming in here, [the Flyers] are playing a lot better. … We can expect them to come hard early and often tonight. If we stick to the game plan, we'll be fine."


Flyers team scope

The Flyers are six points behind the Boston Bruins for the second wild card into the Stanley Cup Playoffs from the Eastern Conference with seven games remaining, but their focus is solely on the Senators. "I don't think we can let ourselves look at the big picture," center Claude Giroux said. "We need to look at the small picture and that picture is Ottawa tonight. We'll play Ottawa tonight and we'll worry about the other teams after that." One area where the Flyers have seen improvement recently is their 5-on-5 play, with 32 goals in their past 13 games. Their power play has struggled during that span; Philadelphia has three goals in their past 44 times with the man advantage. "We're generating more offense, we're moving the puck better [at 5-on-5]," Giroux said. "Now that we have that, power play just has to do what it does. It needs to get us some big goals. We've been having the same power play for a lot of years here. We've been successful, so we've got to keep working on it." Giroux said there's no lack of confidence in personnel or approach to the power play. "No confusion, no doubt in the way we want to be on the power play," he said. "When the power play is going, we get the chances we want. We have all the tools that we want to have."


Senators projected lineup

Zack Smith -- Kyle Turris -- Bobby Ryan

Alexandre Burrows -- Derick Brassard -- Mark Stone

Mike Hoffman -- Jean-Gabriel Pageau -- Tom Pyatt

Ryan Dzingel -- Chris Kelly -- Tommy Wingels

Fredrik Claesson -- Erik Karlsson

Dion Phaneuf -- Cody Ceci

Mark Borowiecki -- Chris Wideman

Craig Anderson

Mike Condon


Scratched: Jyrki Jokipakka, Christopher DiDomenico

Injured: Marc Methot (finger), Chris Neil (finger), Clarke MacArthur (concussion), Viktor Stalberg (upper body)


Flyers projected lineup

Matt Read -- Claude Giroux -- Jakub Voracek

Jordan Weal -- Valtteri Filppula -- Wayne Simmonds

Dale Weise -- Sean Couturier -- Brayden Schenn

Chris VandeVelde -- Pierre-Edouard Bellemare -- Travis Konecny

Ivan Provorov -- Andrew MacDonald

Brandon Manning -- Radko Gudas

Michael Del Zotto -- Shayne Gostisbehere

Steve Mason

Michal Neuvirth


Scratched: Nick Schultz, Roman Lyubimov

Injured: Michal Raffl (lower body), Nick Cousins (upper body)


Status report

Stalberg was on the ice during an optional morning skate but Boucher said he's not ready and will miss his second straight game. … Cousins skated for the first time since he was injured March 15 against the Pittsburgh Penguins, but will miss his seventh consecutive game. There is no timetable for his return, Flyers coach Dave Hakstol said.


Who's hot

Hoffman has seven points (one goal, six assists) in a six-game point streak and 16 points (three goals, 13 assists) in his past 15 games. … Karlsson has 12 points (four goals, eight assists) in his past 12 games. … Giroux has 10 points (two goals, eight assists) in his past 11 games. … Couturier has eight points (two goals, six assists) in his past eight games.

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