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Struggling Sens head to Vancouver

by Deborah Francisco
SENATORS (17-28-8) AT CANUCKS (34-10-9)


Last 10: Ottawa 1-7-2; Vancouver 6-1-3.

Season Series – This is the second and final meeting between these Canadian clubs this season. Ryan Kesler notched two goals to lead Vancouver to a 6-2 victory in the first meeting on Nov. 11. in Ottawa. Senator rookie Peter Regin notched two points in that game with a goal and an assist.

Big Story – Vancouver continues to dominate opponents and consequently to top the Western Conference Standings with a League-best 77 points while Ottawa provides a star contrast as it is 1-11-4 in its last 16 games.

Team Scope:

Senators – The Senators dropped their ninth straight game in a disappointing 5-3 loss to the New York Islanders on Long Island on Saturday night.

Ottawa came out strong in the first period, notching two equalizers and then a go-ahead goal that the Islanders quickly responded to leading to a 3-3 tie after just 20 minutes of action. The third period, however, did not favor the Senators as the Islanders tallied both a power-play goal and a shorthanded goal for the win.

"We need better goaltending," Senators coach Cory Closton told the Ottawa Citizen. "I don't know how else to say it. We need saves early on. We shouldn't have come out of the (first) period tied 3-3. At least a one- or two-goal lead for sure."

Ironically, a 6-4 win over the Islanders on Jan. 13 is the Senators' lone bright spot in its last 10 games.

Canucks – Things couldn't look brighter for the Northwest Division leading Vancouver Canucks. The Sedin brothers, Henrik and Daniel, are the two-headed monster that propels the Canucks' offensive engine. The twins combined to tally five points (2 goals, 3 assists) in the Canucks' tight 4-3 win over the reigning Stanly Cup champ Chicago Blackhawks on Saturday night.

Daniel Sedin notched the game-winner in the third period with four minutes remaining. The Canucks came back from multiple single-goal deficits in the game before finally taking the lead on Daniel's late third-period goal. The victory extends their home regulation unbeaten streak to 14 games (10-0-4) as they open a four-game homestand.

"It was nice to come back against a good team," said Henrik, "we were down 3-2 with 10 minutes to go and to be able to come back and win, that's huge for our confidence."

Injury Report – Ottawa D Matt Carkner missed a second game because of an undisclosed lower body injury. He is expected to return this week, Sens goalie Pascal Leclaire (lower body) has been out 18 games without a set return date… Vancouver is without defenseman Alex Edler (back) and Aaron Volpatti is day-to-day (rib).

Who's hotMikael Samuelsson has notched at least two points in each of his last three contests (2 goals, 5 assists) and has eight points in his last five games. Roberto Luongo is riding a four-game winning streak with only five goals against on 121 shots.

Stat Pack – Vancouver has the fewest regulation losses in the League so far this season with just 10.

Puck Drop – Ottawa rookie netminder Robin Lehner stepped in for Brian Elliott in the first period of Saturday's contest. He allowed only one goal on 27 shots.

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