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GAME: Ottawa Senators (29-10-3) at Edmonton Oilers (24-15-5).

TIME: Saturday, 10 p.m. EST.

The Ottawa Senators try to snap out of their recent funk and get a rare win against the Edmonton Oilers as the two teams meet at Rexall Place.

The Senators have lost three of their last four games, including a 2-0 shutout loss Thursday to the San Jose Sharks. While this is the second time Ottawa has lost three of four games, it was able to salvage a pair of points by virtue of an overtime and shootout loss in its last slump.

"Our problem is that if we don't score five or six goals, we lose the game," Senators goalie Dominik Hasek said. "We have to find a way to win these games ... it's very important to find a way to win the close games."

Hasek's words have rang true for the high-scoring Senators, who are 2-10-3 when held to three goals or fewer.

Additionally, Ottawa has just two wins in its last 15 games against Edmonton, both coming in the 2002-03 season. The Senators, who have just five wins in franchise history against the Oilers, have two wins and two ties in 11 all-time games at Edmonton.

The Senators again are expected to be without first-line center Jason Spezza, who has missed 11 of the last 12 games with a pulled chest muscle.

Edmonton has alternated wins and losses its last six games but did get a point in Thursday's 5-4 overtime loss to the New York Rangers. Michael Peca scored two goals for the Oilers, but trying to kill 10 penalties took its toll as Edmonton was denied consecutive victories for the first time since a five-game winning streak from Dec. 15-23.

"We had too many penalties, especially in the first two periods," Peca said. "When you try to kill penalties over and over against a great power play, it's going to catch up with you."

Peca ended a seven-game goal-scoring drought with his first two-goal game since scoring two Jan. 15, 2004, against the Senators while playing for the New York Islanders.

STANDINGS: Senators - 61 points, 1st place, Northeast Division. Oilers - 53 points, 2nd place (tied), 2 PB, Northwest Division.

TEAM LEADERS: Senators - Daniel Alfredsson and Dany Heatley, 27 goals; Spezza, 35 assists; Alfredsson, 59 points; Zdeno Chara, 100 PIM. Oilers - Ryan Smyth, 19 goals; Shawn Horcoff and Ales Hemsky, 32 assists; Horcoff, 46 points; Ethan Moreau, 55 PIM.

SPECIAL TEAMS: Senators - Power play: 21.2 percent (57 for 269), 3rd in NHL. Penalty killing: 84.9 percent (236 for 278), 7th. Oilers - Power play: 19.3 percent (53 for 274), 7th. Penalty killing: 83 percent (224 for 270), 12th.

GOALTENDERS: Senators - Hasek (21-7-2, 3 SO, 2.04 GAA); Ray Emery (8-3-1, 1, 3.07). Oilers - Jussi Markkanen (14-10-4, 0, 3.14); Ty Conklin (5-4-1, 1, 2.89).

2003-04 SEASON SERIES: Oilers, 1-0-1.

LAST MEETING: March 14, 2004; Oilers, 3-1. At Edmonton, Alberta, Radek Dvorak, Ethan Moreau and Raffi Torres scored second-period goals in a 6:48 span of the second period for the Oilers.

ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Senators - 12-6-3 on the road; Oilers - 11-7-2 at home.

Associated Press
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