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Senators realize they must cut down on shots allowed

by Sean Farrell

OTTAWA -- It was a quiet morning on the ice at Canadian Tire Centre on Wednesday after the Ottawa Senators and Minnesota Wild played road games Tuesday.

Neither team held a morning skate after each arrived in Canada's capital with decisive losses fresh in their thoughts.

Goalie Craig Anderson will start for the fourth time in five games for Ottawa since he was sidelined because of a sore neck. Anderson has a 5-6-2 record with a 3.26 goals-against average and a .904 save percentage.

Backup Robin Lehner faced 42 shots Tuesday in a 5-2 loss to the Philadelphia Flyers. It was the seventh time the Senators have allowed at least 40 shots. Ottawa has allowed a League-high 761 shots in 21 games, an average of more than 36 per game. Defenseman Marc Methot said that puts too much pressure on Anderson and Lehner to bear the load.

"You can't count on your goalie being your savior every single game and I think putting that weight on their shoulders and having them having to stop 40, 45 shots a game, that's unacceptable and that's not going to happen every season," Methot said Wednesday. "We were pretty fortunate last year to have that, but it's time now for us to kind of grow up a little bit here and mature defensively and really start playing a lot more sound in our own end."

Ottawa erased a two-goal deficit in Philadelphia before allowing a pair of quick goals in the third. The Senators have fallen behind 2-0 in 11 games, including each of their past four.

"You can't just let the game come to you when you're behind, you're forcing things all the time, you're trying to make something out of nothing more than you do when you have the lead," Senators captain Jason Spezza said. "I feel like the games where we've had the lead, teams have to come at you, and then in turn they're the ones making the mistakes, and they're the ones pressing, and then you're getting more offense that way. It's a tough league to play from behind in."

Defenseman Patrick Wiercioch, who has been a healthy scratch for the Senators' past three games, returns to the lineup, and Eric Gryba will sit.

Minnesota coach Mike Yeo will likely start Josh Harding in net for the second game of the Wild's back-to-back that kicks off a five-game road trip.

Harding was pulled after allowing three straight goals to Max Pacioretty of the Montreal Canadiens in the second period of Minnesota's 6-2 loss Tuesday.

"I'm not sitting here trying to say that he was responsible for having us down at that point, so we pulled him to see if he would have enough in the tank to give us a chance to play that game [Wednesday], and we'll see," Yeo said after the Wild's four-game winning streak came to an end in Montreal.

Backup goalie Darcy Kuemper may have been in line for a start in Ottawa, but that's unlikely after he allowed three goals on nine shots after replacing Harding at 13:36 of the second period Tuesday.

"We never had a plan for [Wednesday]," Yeo said. "We were just going to go and see how things went [Tuesday]."

Kuemper, who was recalled from Iowa of the American Hockey League on Monday, entered with a .571 save percentage after he allowed three goals on seven shots in his only previous game with the Wild this season. He allowed Michael Bournival's goal on the first and only shot he faced in the second. Daniel Briere scored on Montreal's first shot of the third. Kuemper's goals-against average stands at 6.13.

Torrey Mitchell left the game after Bournival scored Montreal's fourth goal of the second.

"I haven't got an update yet, but I don't think it will be too serious," Yeo said in Montreal.

The Wild recalled center Jason Zucker from Iowa on Wednesday.

Here are the possible Wild and Senators lineups:


Zach Parise - Mikko Koivu - Charlie Coyle

Nino Niederreiter - Mikael Granlund - Jason Pominville

Justin Fontaine - Kyle Brodziak - Matt Cooke

Jason Zucker - Zenon Konopka - Dany Heatley

Ryan Suter - Jonas Brodin

Marco Scandella - Jared Spurgeon

Clayton Stoner - Matt Dumba

Josh Harding

Darcy Kuemper

Scratched: Nate Prosser

Injured: Torrey Mitchell (lower body), Keith Ballard (upper body), Niklas Backstrom (upper body), Mike Rupp (lower body)


Milan Michalek - Jason Spezza - Cory Conacher

Clarke MacArthur - Kyle Turris - Bobby Ryan

Colin Greening - Zack Smith - Chris Neil

Erik Condra - Derek Grant - Mika Zibanejad

Marc Methot - Erik Karlsson

Mark Borowiecki - Chris Phillips

Jared Cowen - Patrick Wiercioch

Craig Anderson

Robin Lehner

Scratched: Matt Kassian, Eric Gryba, Joe Corvo

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