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Alfredsson won't face Flyers

by Rob Brodie / Ottawa Senators
The Ottawa Senators will hit the ice Saturday night without their captain.

A pulled groin muscle has sidelined Daniel Alfredsson for the Sens’ matchup with the Philadelphia Flyers at Scotiabank Place (7 p.m., CBC, Team 1200). Alfredsson didn’t take part in the morning pre-game skate, confirming that he’ll be absent from the Ottawa lineup for the first time this season.

“He’s quite a bit better,” head coach John Paddock said. “I know he had to lasso himself not to go out on the ice because he thought he might feel too good and want to try it. But I think it’s best that he doesn’t do it today. He obviously thought it was best, too, because that’s the decision he made and it’s up to him.”

The Senators don’t play again until next Wednesday, when they travel to Uniondale, N.Y., to face the Islanders. Paddock is confident the three days between now and then will give Alfredsson the time he needs to recover.

“We know he’s a quick healer,” said Paddock. “He played last year after missing four days with a broken rib. We know he doesn’t take much to heal his body. I think that’s all good news.

“I don’t know whether he practices Monday or not, but I think he’ll be pretty close to playing by Wednesday.”

For the start of tonight’s game, at least, Dean McAmmond will join Jason Spezza and Dany Heatley on the top line against the Flyers. The trio skated together during Saturday morning’s pre-game skate.

“I don’t know if there’s an obvious choice (to fill the void), but Dean was a pretty good player there last year when Alfie was with (Mike Fisher) for defensive purposes or at different times in the game,” said Paddock. “He’s struggling to find his game and maybe this will be a boost for him, playing with those two.”

The Senators (16-4-1) are coming off back-to-back losses for the first time this season, while the Flyers (12-7-2) dropped a 4-3 overtime decision Friday to the Washington Capitals and new coach Bruce Boudreau.

Paddock surely doesn’t want to see a repeat of Thursday’s 6-5 overtime loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins, when the Senators blew a pair of two-goal leads thanks, in great part, to inopportune penalties that cost them dearly.

“I’m expecting a better game,” said Paddock. “We’ve got quite a few things we can do better.”

Martin Gerber (13-2-1) starts in goal for the Senators.

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