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Stone returns for Senators to face Hurricanes

by Kurt Dusterberg / NHL.com

SENATORS (7-4-2) at HURRICANES (5-8-0)

TV: SN1, TVA Sports 2, FS-CR

RALEIGH, N.C. -- Forward Mark Stone will return to the Ottawa Senators lineup Saturday against the Carolina Hurricanes at PNC Arena after serving a two-game suspension.

"I want to play," said Stone, who has 13 points in 11 games. "It's always frustrating sitting games. I'm excited, the team's playing well. I'll just come in and add my element to the team."

Stone sat out two games for a hit to the head against Detroit Red Wings forward Landon Ferraro. The Senators picked up the slack in his absence, defeating the Montreal Canadiens 2-1 and the Winnipeg Jets 3-2 in a shootout.

"It's nothing we're not used to," Stone said. "We've played in a lot of tight games at the start of this year and the end of last year. It's the kind of way we need to play to win our games."

Andrew Hammond will start in goal for Ottawa. Hammond was in the net for a memorable 2-1 overtime win at PNC Arena last March, allowing him to tie Frank Brimsek's 76-year-old record of allowing two or fewer goals in his first 12 starts (11-0-1).

There was a tone of urgency from each coach at the morning skate.

When asked what he expected from the Hurricanes, Ottawa's Dave Cameron answered tersely, "An NHL team, so we're going to have our hands full."

Cameron said defenseman Cody Ceci would sit out with a lower-body injury and forward Zack Smith was a healthy scratch.

Carolina coach Bill Peters was straight to the point in his remarks as well when asked how he wanted to see the Hurricanes play.

"Desperate," he said.

The Hurricanes were hoping to take advantage of a favorable November schedule, playing nine of 13 games at home. But after a 4-1 loss to the Dallas Stars on Friday night, Carolina is 0-2-0 to start the month.

A slow start by the Hurricanes last season left them unable to make a run at the Stanley Cup Playoffs. With 10 points, Carolina is one behind its total after 13 games last season, and Peters made it clear he wants the Hurricanes among the top eight in the Eastern Conference at Thanksgiving.

"American Thanksgiving; it doesn't tend to be, it basically is the line in the sand," Peters said. "You better go with a Herculean effort if you're going to come out of it. So you would rather not be in that predicament."

Peters juggled all four lines and three defensive pairings, although he indicated changes could be made prior to game time.

Here are the projected lineups:

SENATORS

Shane Prince - Kyle Turris - Mark Stone

Mike Hoffman - Mika Zibanejad - Bobby Ryan

Milan Michalek - Jean-Gabriel Pageau - Alex Chiasson

Matt Puempel - Curtis Lazar - Chris Neil

Marc Methot - Erik Karlsson

Patrick Wiercioch - Mark Borowiecki

Jared Cowen - Chris Wideman

Andrew Hammond

Craig Anderson

Injured: Cody Ceci (lower body)

Scratched: Zack Smith

HURRICANES

Eric Staal - Victor Rask - Kris Versteeg

Nathan Gerbe - Jordan Staal - Chris Terry

Jeff Skinner - Riley Nash - Elias Lindholm

Brad Malone - Jay McClement - Brock McGinn

John-Michael Liles - Justin Faulk

Ron Hainsey - Brett Pesce

Michal Jordan - Ryan Murphy

Cam Ward

Eddie Lack

Injured: James Wisniewski (knee)

Scratched: Andrej Nestrasil, Noah Hanifin

Status update: Ceci was among the 12 skaters and two goaltenders who took the optional morning skate. … McClement, Nestrasil and Ward were the only skaters on the ice for Carolina.

Who's hot: Ryan and Turris each have four goals in Ottawa's past five games. … Jordan Staal has goals in each of his past two games.

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