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Senators hope to rebound against Thrashers

by Eric Goodman
SENATORS (37-28-5) AT THRASHERS (29-29-11)

Last 10: Ottawa 3-6-1; Atlanta 3-5-2.

Season Series: This is the fourth and final regular-season meeting between these two clubs. The Thrashers took the most recent game, 6-1 at home, on Jan. 12 with six goals from six different players. The Senators won, 4-2, on Oct. 10 at ScotiaBank Place but lost, 3-1, in their other home meeting against Atlanta on Oct. 31.

Big Story: The month of March has not been very kind to the Senators as they have only won one game out of seven so far and are mired in a current three-game losing streak. Atlanta continues its five-game homestand, having dropped two of its first three games.

Team Scope:

Senators: Ottawa is 1-5-1 since resuming play following the Olympic break and its playoff standing has taken a dent as a result. While the Sens (79 points) maintain a five-point cushion over the eighth-place Boston Bruins, a 4-1 loss to the Toronto Maple Leafs on Tuesday has raised some cause for concern.

“We’re struggling, trying to get our offense going,” said captain Daniel Alfredsson. “It seems like we don’t want to make mistakes and we’re playing it safe all the time, but that hasn’t resulted in generating any offense.”

Thrashers: Atlanta finally ended its six-game losing streak with a 4-3 home win over the Buffalo Sabres on Tuesday. The Thrashers quickly went up 3-0 in the first period of that game and chased Sabres’ goalie Ryan Miller, but went on to surrender that lead by the middle of the third period before Jim Slater finally won it on a wrist shot past Sabres’ backup Patrick Lalime. Atlanta is now five points removed from a playoff spot with just 13 games remaining on its schedule.

Who’s Hot: Alfredsson has compiled five assists over his last five games for Ottawa. ... For the Thrashers, forward Nik Antropov has 17 points in his last 13 games, including a goal and an assist on Tuesday.

Injury Report: Defenseman Filip Kuba has been out for the Sens since suffering a lower-body injury on Mar. 2. Blueliner Boris Valabik is out for the season with a knee injury for Atlanta.

Stat Pack: The Thrashers are only ahead of the last-place Maple Leafs for most goals against in the Eastern Conference at 3.16.

Puck Drop: Ottawa had an impressive 11-game winning streak from mid-January to the beginning of February, but it has only won four of its next 12 games since then. With such a tightly packed Eastern Conference, a team can easily go from playoff contender to pretender in the matter of just a few weeks. It is important that the Senators quickly reclaim their winning ways as the post-season is anything but guaranteed.

“Obviously, we've got our work cut out for us here,” Alfredsson told TSN on Tuesday.

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