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Senators hoping to stay strong through middle

Ottawa missing first-line center Turris vs. St. Louis

by Chris Stevenson / NHL.com Correspondent

BLUES (36-20-9) at SENATORS (30-27-6)

TV: 7 p.m. ET, RDS, TSN5, FS-MW, NHL.TV

OTTAWA -- The Ottawa Senators will try and keep their push for a Stanley Cup Playoff spot going without top center Kyle Turris on Tuesday against the St. Louis Blues at Canadian Tire Centre.

The Senators decided Monday to rest Turris indefinitely. He has been playing with a sprained ankle sustained Dec. 5.

Mika Zibanejad will take Turris' place between Mike Hoffman and Bobby Ryan. Curtis Lazar and Nick Paul will move to center on the third and fourth lines, respectively. Jean-Gabriel Pageau will center Zack Smith and Mark Stone on what has been the Senators' hottest line lately.

"It's tough to lose [Turris], but at the same time it's more important that he gets healthy rather than try and push through that type of injury," Stone said.

The Senators have won five of their past six games (5-1-0) and are six points behind the Pittsburgh Penguins for the second wild card in the Eastern Conference.

Senators coach Dave Cameron said he is not expecting any of his centers to try and play differently in Turris' absence.

"I don't want to see anything different from Mika because Kyle is out," he said. "That's got nothing to do with what I expect from Mika. I expect Mika to be a real solid player with and without the puck, real competitive."

The Senators traded forward Shane Prince to the New York Islanders on Monday and Matt Puempel was called up from Binghamton of the American Hockey League. Puempel will play with Lazar and Alex Chiasson.

Craig Anderson will start in goal for the Senators.

The Blues, who have their own injury problems, ended a three-game losing streak (0-3-0) Sunday with a 5-2 win against the Carolina Hurricanes.

Defenseman Alex Pietrangelo returned from injury against the Hurricanes after missing nine games, but they still are without goaltender Brian Elliott and forwards Steve Ott and Alexander Steen.

The Blues are in third place in the Central Division, two points behind the Chicago Blackhawks and the Dallas Stars.

"I thought our effort was a lot better [against Carolina]," Blues captain David Backes said. "We had a lot more guys on the [same] page and getting the job done. The three-game losing streak, I don't know if there's one specific thing we can put our finger on and say that's why. But you're trying to absorb minutes from [Pietrangelo] and Alex Steen that are out.

"We get [Pietrangelo] back and he's a big boost to the defensive side. Steen will be back whenever he's back. But those guys do leave voids in our lineup. Sorting that out and who's going to absorb that extra role and that extra responsibility, we had guys stepping up in Carolina that we really needed to step up and we need another effort like that tonight."

Blues coach Ken Hitchcock said he thinks the injuries have helped make the Blues a better team this season.

"We've had great spirit all year," he said. "We've had a lot of adversity. We found ways to get points. It hasn't been a Rembrandt every night, but you can't take away from our spirit.

"There's real value in being a team and that's what we are; we're a team."

Jake Allen is expected to start in goal for the Blues.

Here are the projected lineups:

BLUES

Jaden Schwartz - Paul Stastny - Vladimir Tarasenko

Robby Fabbri - Patrik Berglund - Troy Brouwer

Dmitrij Jaskin - David Backes - Magnus Paajarvi

Scottie Upshall - Kyle Brodziak - Ryan Reaves

Jay Bouwmeester - Alex Pietrangelo

Carl Gunnarsson - Kevin Shattenkirk

Joel Edmundson - Colton Parayko

Jake Allen

Anders Nilsson

Injured: Brian Elliott (lower body), Steve Ott (hamstrings), Alexander Steen (upper body), Jori Lehtera (upper body)

Scratched: Robert Bortuzzo

SENATORS

Mike Hoffman - Mika Zibanejad - Bobby Ryan

Zack Smith - Jean-Gabriel Pageau - Mark Stone

Matt Puempel - Curtis Lazar - Alex Chiasson

Ryan Dzingel - Nick Paul - Chris Neil

Marc Methot - Erik Karlsson

Dion Phaneuf - Cody Ceci

Mark Borowiecki - Chris Wideman

Craig Anderson

Andrew Hammond

Injured: Kyle Turris (ankle), Chris Phillips (back), Clarke MacArthur (concussion)

Scratched: Patrick Wiercioch

Status report: Reaves has served his three-game suspension for a hit on Matt Tennyson of the San Jose Sharks and is expected to play Tuesday.

Who's hot: Pageau has a goal and five assists in his past five games. … Stone has two goals and four assists in his past three games.

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