PREDATORS (2-5-1) at SENATORS (5-2-0)
Season series -- This is the only meeting between these teams this season. Last season, Nick Foligno and Dany Heatley scored first-period goals and Alex Auld made 24 saves to lead the Senators to a 2-0 victory at Nashville on Feb. 16.
Big story -- The Predators have to get it together and fast. In their first eight games they've been shut out twice and have scored three non-shootout goals only once. Their 11 non-shootout goals as a League low. On the other hand, the Senators have been quite stingy in giving up goals -- only five teams have a better goals-against per game than Ottawa's 2.29.
Predators: This is the third game on a five-game road trip for Nashville, which had a 3-2 shootout loss at Washington last Saturday and a 3-2 regulation loss at Boston on Wednesday. The Predators have lost six games in a row after a 2-0-0 start.
The Predators, already one of the lowest scoring teams in the League, were forced to place top-line center and captain Jason Arnott on injured reserve with a left shoulder/arm injury on Monday. He will be out for one to two weeks. "It's tough. It's part of the game, though," Arnott told the Tennessean. "I'm glad it's not overly serious and it's not going to be a real long injury. Hopefully I'll be back soon, playing with the guys and helping them out." Arnott is the second to a member of the No. 1 line to miss time this season with injury. J.P. Dumont sat out four games earlier.
The following day, Nashville announced a slew of moves, recalling defenseman Alexander Sulzer and forward Dave Scatchard from AHL Milwaukee. They also assigned defenseman Teemu Laakso to the Admirals. Sulzer had a goal and 5 assists in five games in the minors. Scatchard had a team-leading 3 goals and 17 penalty minutes in four contests for Milwaukee. Before playing at Boston, he hadn't played an NHL game since 2006-07 with Phoenix.
Senators -- This is Ottawa's eighth game of the season and fifth on home ice. It also marks the start of a two-game homestand at Scotiabank Place, where the Senators are 3-1-0.
The Senators are likely to get back rookie center Peter Regin; he is listed as probable. The Ottawa Sun reported he would replace Ryan Shannon as the center for Nick Foligno and Chris Neil. Regin has missed the last three games with a shoulder injury. "He's a good player, a very good player and he was playing well up until the injury," coach Cory Clouston said. Regin had 2 goals and an assist and was plus-3 in the four games he played before being injured.
Ottawa has the second-best penalty killing in the League this far at 93.1%, trailing only Columbus. The Senators have killed 27 of their 29 shorthanded situations, including the last 17 in a row. "There are a number of the things working in our favor. First is the upgrade in personnel. You look at the top penalty-killing teams in the League and you're looking at the goalies with the best save percentage. For the first time in a number of years, we've stabilized our goaltending," Senators assistant coach Greg Carvel told the Ottawa. "Our guys are comfortable with both our goaltenders (Pascal Leclaire and Brian Elliott). They don't feel like they have to take away every option from the opposition."
Who's hot -- For the Senators, right wing Daniel Alfredsson has a goal and 4 assists in his last two games, center Mike Fisher has 2 goals and 3 assists in his last five games, right wing Alexei Kovalev has 2 goals and an assist in his last two games, and left wing Jarkko Ruutu has a goal and 2 assists in his last two games. For the Predators, rookie center Colin Wilson, Nashville's top pick in 2008, scored his first NHL goal in the loss at Boston.
Injury report -- For the Senators, defenseman Filip Kuba (lower body) is day-to-day, and forward Jesse Winchester is on injured reserve with a knee injury. For the Predators, Arnott was placed on injured reserve with a left shoulder/arm injury. Winger Jordin Tootoo is also on IR with a groin injury, and defenseman Dan Hamhuis is day-to-day with an upper-body injury.
Stat pack -- Clouston has led the Senators to a 24-13-4 record (19-11-4) since taking over as coach on Feb. 2.
Puck drop -- "We're pulling in the right direction in just about every area," Clouston said after Tuesday's practice. "Our penalty killing's been solid, our goaltending's been very good, offensively we started to generate more chances and we're starting to bury some of our chances. We've done what we wanted to accomplish and now it's to just keep building on what we've been doing."
-- Rocky Bonanno, NHL.com