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Alfredsson won't face Sharks

by Rob Brodie / Ottawa Senators
The captain is a no-go for the Ottawa Senators.

Daniel Alfredsson won't see action Wednesday night when the Senators face off against the San Jose Sharks at HP Pavilion (10:30 p.m., no TV, Team 1200). He did not participate in the team's 25-minute pre-game skate, and will be replaced in the lineup by rookie Nick Foligno.

Alfredsson (back) was injured Monday night when he was cross-checked by Anaheim defenceman François Beauchemin during the third period of the Senators' 3-1 loss to the Ducks in the opener of their four-game western road trip.

"I moved a little bit better today, but it's not good enough to go on the ice," said Alfredsson, who remains hopeful he'll recover well enough to play Thursday night, when the Senators are in Los Angeles to face the Kings (10:30 p.m., no TV, Team 1200).

"It's a lot better today, so hopefully it keeps (improving). I don't know if there's a big chance, but I'm hoping it's going to get a lot better by tomorrow and looser. So we'll see what happens tomorrow, I guess."

Head coach/general manager Bryan Murray said caution is the wise approach in this situation.

"He's just going to have to take it day by day," he said. "He was a lot better today, but didn't feel he could give it 100 per cent. There's not a lot of sense in losing the guy for a period of time if we can get him healthy to a degree. I don't know if he's going to be 100 per cent when he comes back, but this will give him a chance to recover a little bit."

With Alfredsson out, Murray will move Chris Kelly on to the Senators' No. 1 line alongside Jason Spezza and Dany Heatley.

"We've got to get something out of (Heatley and Spezza) and I think Chris protects them a little bit defensively," said Murray. "He's smart, he's an alert player and hopefully he can play a role there."

Mike Fisher takes Kelly's spot with Antoine Vermette and Cory Stillman, while Foligno was matched with Randy Robitaille and Martin Lapointe during the pre-game skate.

Alfredsson's absence will make the chore tougher against a Sharks team that has reeled off six straight wins, four of them coming since defenceman Brian Campbell was acquired from the Buffalo Sabres at the Feb. 26 trade deadline. But Murray has liked the intensity his team has shown for the most part in its last two games.

"In the last couple of games, we played hard, we played with good emotion," he said. "I hope they'll come out tonight and play real responsible. We know we're playing a good hockey team and we have to play accordingly."

Martin Gerber (24-12-2) makes his third straight start in goal tonight.

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