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Sens continue homestand against Oilers

by Brian Compton
OILERS (6-12-4) at SENATORS (11-12-1)


Last 10: Edmonton 2-6-2; Ottawa 4-6-0.

Season Series: This is the first of two meetings between the teams. They'll meet again at Rexall Place on Feb. 12, 2011.

Big Story: Monday marks the second of a four-game homestand for the Senators, who bounced back from a 2-1 loss at Pittsburgh with a 3-0 win against the Toronto Maple Leafs on Saturday night at Scotiabank Place. The Sens finally got contributions from the line of Mike Fisher-Alex Kovalev-Milan Michalek, as the trio accounted for all of the offense.

"It's nice to see those guys score goals," Sens forward Jason Spezza said. "They've had a lot of chances lately and it's nice to see them get rewarded."

Team Scope:

Oilers: Edmonton nearly rallied from a 4-1 deficit on Saturday night, but fell short in a 4-3 loss to the San Jose Sharks at Rexall Place. Sam Gagner, Shawn Horcoff and Jim Vandermeer scored for the Oilers, while  Devan Dubnyk made 21 saves.

"The effort was there, I think," Horcoff said. "But we need wins right now. I think against an experienced team like they are -- 10 minutes they took it to us and we weren't able to hold them off."

Senators: Just a few hours before his team earned a hard-fought win against the Leafs, team owner Eugene Melnyk gave his group of a vote of confidence. Ottawa had only one victory in its previous five games before blanking Toronto. Brian Elliott made 29 saves in the win.

"Everybody would be a lot happier if we had a different record and kind of reversed things," Melnyk told the Sens' web site. "But (Friday) was a really, really important game to see what we can do as a team. Anytime you go out there and take 40-plus shots on a goaltender and you're playing an elite team and just coming up that short … it's kind of disheartening. But on the other hand, you look at it and say it could have gone either way. There's so many chances.

"It just continues to prove what I've been talking about, and that is it's a game of inches and it's brutal at times."

Who's Hot: Oilers rookie Taylor Hall has two goals and two assists in his last five games. … Elliott's shutout on Saturday was his second of the season. It lowered his goals-against average to 2.94 and raised his save percentage to .911.

Injury Report: Oilers winger Ales Hemsky and goalie Nikolai Khabibulin are both nursing groin injuries and are day-to-day. … Ottawa is boasting a healthy lineup.

Stat Pack: Edmonton rookie Magnus Paajarvi has gone 11 straight games without a point. … Sens goalie Pascal Leclaire has stopped 90 of the last 96 shots he's faced.

Puck Drop:  "I think our guys put 150 per cent (effort) in, every one of them. Now we have a healthy team and I think you're going to see a lot of good things coming out of the team on the ice ... Don't underestimate this team or the heart of this team or the experience or I think, most importantly, their will to win. These are tough guys and they're not going to put up with giving up games like this anymore. Trust me on that." -- Ottawa Senators owner Eugene Melnyk

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