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Ottawa Senators vs. Vancouver Canucks @NHLdotcom
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GAME: Ottawa Senators (37-19-9-5) at Vancouver Canucks (37-21-9-4).

TIME: Saturday, 10 p.m. EST.

Locked in a three-way battle for first place in the Northeast Division, the Ottawa Senators know they cannot afford any prolonged slumps.

The Senators will try to turn up their intensity when they take on the Vancouver Canucks at General Motors Place.

Ottawa has lost three of five games this month, including Thursday's 4-2 setback in Calgary, dropping it to 1-1 on its five-game road trip.

Marian Hossa and Martin Havlat scored for the Senators, who remained tied with Toronto for second place in the Northeast, just one point behind Boston.

With 12 games to play, the Senators know they need every point they can get.

"They played hard, they forechecked hard, they did all the things we expected them to do, so you have to give them credit," Senators defenseman Wade Redden said of the Flames. "They were real hungry and we can probably tear a page out of their book and maybe do the same. This is the time of year where you have to pick it up."

Ottawa center Jason Spezza failed to score for the 13th straight game after picking up 19 goals in the Senators' first 57 contests.

The Canucks are 1-0-1 since losing forward Todd Bertuzzi for the rest of the season due to a league-imposed suspension for his vicious attack on Colorado center Steve Moore Monday.

After a 1-1 tie with Minnesota on Wednesday, Vancouver pulled out a 4-3 victory in Edmonton on Friday as newly acquired forward Geoff Sanderson scored the game-winner with 33 seconds left in overtime.

Sanderson has two goals and an assist in two games for the Canucks, who remained four points behind the Avalanche for first place in the Northwest Division. Vancouver is five points back of Detroit for the most points in the Western Conference.

STANDINGS: Senators - 88 points, 2nd place (tied), 1 PB, Northeast Division. Canucks - 87 points, 2nd place, 4 PB, Northwest Division.

TEAM LEADERS: Senators - Hossa, 31 goals and 74 points; Daniel Alfredsson, 45 assists; Chris Neil, 162 PIM. Canucks - Markus Naslund, 32 goals, 44 assists and 76 points; Jarkko Ruutu, 125 PIM.

SPECIAL TEAMS (through March 11): Senators - Power play: 22.6 percent (75 for 332), 2nd in NHL. Penalty killing: 83.8 percent (253 for 302), 16th. Canucks - Power play: 15.7 percent (53 for 338), 19th. Penalty killing: 86.1 percent (272 for 317), 2nd.

GOALTENDERS: Senators - Patrick Lalime (23-20-7, 3 SO, 2.30 GAA); Martin Prusek (13-4-2, 3, 1.86). Canucks - Dan Cloutier (27-20-5, 4, 2.37); Johan Hedberg (8-4-2, 3, 2.32).

SEASON SERIES: Canucks, 1-0.

LAST MEETING: Nov. 27; Canucks, 3-2 (OT). At Ottawa, Cloutier stopped 31 shots for his 100th career victory. Naslund came through with the game-winner 4:13 into overtime. Ottawa had two golden opportunities to win it late, but Chris Phillips hit the crossbar with less than a minute left in regulation, and Cloutier stopped Zdeno Chara's bid 1:50 into overtime.

ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Senators - 15-12-4-1 on the road; Canucks - 17-11-6-0 at home.

Associated Press
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