The Ottawa Senators appear to have all the ingredients necessary to win a Stanley Cup. What they don't have a lot of is players with experience winning a championship.
Cory Stillman and Mike Commodore - both acquired in a four-player trade Monday - are expected to debut with their new team when the Senators host the surging Buffalo Sabres on Tuesday night.
With the trading deadline two weeks away, Ottawa (34-18-4) received Stillman and Commodore from Carolina for defenseman Joe Corvo and forward Patrick Eaves.
|Cory Stillman, front, and Mike Commodore (22), who were recently acquired from a trade with the Carolina Hurricanes, are expected to make their first start for the Ottawa Senators tonight when they host the Buffalo Sabres. (AP Photo/Stan Gilliland)
The addition of Stillman, who was fourth on the Hurricanes with 46 points, gives the Senators another top-six forward that likely will play on the team's second line.
"That's a natural place for (Stillman) to start," Senators coach John Paddock told the team's official Web site. "That's one of the reasons we talked about acquiring him. It addresses the need for (another) goal scorer."
While Corvo plays a more offensive style, the 6-foot-5 Commodore provides Ottawa with another tough, stay-at home defenseman.
Stillman and Commodore also bring Stanley Cup experience to Ottawa. Both played key roles in Carolina's 2005-06 championship run while Stillman also was a member of Tampa Bay's Cup-winning team in 2003-04, making him only the sixth player in NHL history to win the championship in consecutive seasons with different teams.
Before Monday's trade, goaltender Martin Gerber was the only Senator with a Stanley Cup to his credit. He won it with the Hurricanes two seasons ago.
"When you go after players who have Stanley Cup rings, I think the message is clear what the objective of this team is," Paddock said.
Stillman and Commodore join a team that leads the conference by three points over Pittsburgh and the Northeast Division by five over Montreal.
The Senators, though, had lost eight of 11 before winning their last two games, a streak that coincided with the return of star forwards Dany Heatley and captain Daniel Alfredsson.
Heatley had two goals and an assist in a 5-4 victory Thursday over Florida after missing 11 games because of a separated shoulder. Alfredsson had two goals and three assists in a 6-1 win over Montreal on Saturday after sitting out the previous four games with a nagging hip injury.
Jason Spezza clearly was happy to have his regular linemates back for the first time in 13 games as he had three goals and three assists for a career-high six points.
"We enjoy playing with each other and those guys seem like they're rested up," Spezza said. "Sometimes the injuries can be a blessing in disguise. Both guys were really good, really hungry, and we moved the puck real well."
|Ryan Miller and the Sabres hope to continue their recently hot play that has got them within one point of the Boston Bruins for the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. (AP Photo/Don Heupel)
Ray Emery made 33 saves to win his second straight start following a personal four-game losing streak. Emery is 10-3-1 with a 3.02 goals-against average in 15 career starts against Buffalo.
The Sabres (26-21-8) continued their outstanding play Sunday with a 5-3 victory over Florida, but the win was overshadowed by a gruesome injury suffered by Panthers forward Richard Zednik, who had a major artery in his neck clipped by a teammates' skate.
"The game doesn't mean a whole lot," said defenseman Brian Campbell, who had three assists. "Sure, it's important in the standings, but it was very humbling. ... The magnitude of something like that sets in pretty quickly."
Buffalo, 6-0-2 in its last eight games, has moved up to ninth in the East, one point Boston for the eighth and final playoff spot.
Right wing Jason Pominville has four goals and seven assists during a seven-game point streak.
The Senators have won four of five meetings this season with the Sabres, posting a pair of 3-2 victories at home. Ottawa is 14-4-3 against Buffalo since the start of the 2005-06 season.