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Senators begin homestand by facing Hurricanes

by Brian Hunter

HURRICANES (17-22-2) at SENATORS (21-14-6)


Last 10: Carolina 2-8-0; Ottawa 5-5-0

Season series: Third and final meeting of the regular season. The Carolina Hurricanes claimed a pair of one-goal victories over the Ottawa Senators in a seven-day span in February. Eric Staal scored the only goal and Dan Ellis stopped 33 shots in a 1-0 win on Feb. 1 at PNC Arena, while Jay Harrison scored in overtime for a 3-2 triumph on Feb. 7 at Scotiabank Place.

Big story: The Senators return home after their scheduled game Monday night against the Boston Bruins at TD Garden was postponed due to the explosions at the Boston Marathon that resulted in tragedy earlier in the day. They begin play Tuesday in sixth place in the Eastern Conference, still one point ahead of the New York Islanders, two in front of the New York Rangers and four up on the Winnipeg Jets. All of those teams are in action Tuesday as well.

Team Scope:

Hurricanes: All that's left following a 1-13-1 skid that dropped Carolina from first place in the Southeast Division to 14th in the Eastern Conference is to play spoiler, and the Hurricanes put a crimp in the Bruins' plans to win the Northeast for a third consecutive season with a 4-2 victory on Saturday that snapped a seven-game losing streak. Joe Corvo's power-play goal midway through the third period proved decisive, while Jiri Tlusty scored twice to establish a career high with 19 goals. Justin Peters stopped 28 shots.

"The standings don't matter," Harrison said. "Every game, regardless of where we are, it's about the pride. We're putting on a jersey with our name on the back, and more importantly with a crest on the front that we're playing for. Every game, we're going out and playing to win.

Senators: This is the start of a four-game homestand for Ottawa, which gets defenseman Jared Cowen back from a hip injury that originally was expected to end his season. A season-high five-game losing streak put what at one point seemed like a surefire berth in the Stanley Cup Playoffs in peril, but the Senators didn't panic and enter Tuesday looking to win their third in a row. They were outshot 33-11 in New Jersey on Friday, but Craig Anderson was flawless in his third start back off an ankle injury and Jean-Gabriel Pageau's first NHL goal proved decisive in a 2-0 victory.

"We got two points and that's all that matters," Anderson said. "I feel 33 shots isn't a lot of work … that's pretty average for us. So I think the guys did a great job of cleaning up rebounds in front. It felt like I was leaving a lot of junk out there, but the battle level in front of the net was outstanding in getting to the loose pucks."

Who's hot: Jeff Skinner has goals in consecutive games for the Hurricanes. Corvo has two goals and one assist during a three-game points streak. … Milan Michalek scored a goal for the Senators in his return to the lineup Friday. He had assists in three consecutive games prior to getting hurt and missing over a month of action.

Injury report: Ellis (knee) is day-to-day for Carolina, which is missing goalie Cam Ward (knee), defenseman Joni Pitkanen (foot) and forwards Tim Brent (lower body) and Drayson Bowman (upper body). … Ottawa defenseman Erik Karlsson (Achilles) and forwards Jason Spezza (back) and Mike Hoffman (collarbone) are sidelined.

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