There will be no Alex Ovechkins on the ice tonight when the Ottawa Senators try to make it back-to-back wins at Scotiabank Place this week.
But the Philadelphia Flyers, who lead the Eastern Conference in goals – they’ve racked up 43 in 12 games – aren’t without their share of firepower. The offensive punch, though, isn't loaded up in the hands of one heavy hitter.
"We're going to get a different challenge from Philly than we had (against Washington)," Senators coach Craig Hartsburg said after his team's pre-game skate this morning. "Their scoring is spread out and they're a real hard-working, competitive team that prides itself on working and competing."
Nobody in a Senators uniform is more familiar with what Philadelphia brings to the table than defenceman Jason Smith, who captained the Flyers last season. Four Flyers have already hit double-digits in points this season, with seven players notching at least three goals.
"They've got good depth," said Smith. "It's a team that doesn't necessarily rely on one guy, and you've got to be prepared to play for 60 minutes each night (against them)."
Meaning the chore tonight goes way beyond focusing on one line, as the Senators did against Ovechkin and Co. on Tuesday night.
"All four lines for us are going to have to be solid," said captain Daniel Alfredsson
. "It's not just a matter of shutting down one line for them. They've got pretty good scoring throughout.
"We've just got to play solid, play disciplined, stay smart and stay out of the (penalty) box. We've done a pretty good job of that."
Added Hartsburg: "They've got three lines (with) scorers on every line. Everybody's got to play that responsible game and try to create offence from there."
After stumbling out of the gate at 2-5-1, the Senators have put together a 3-0-1 run to get back to the .500 level. And with each outing, they get more comfortable with the puck-possession driven system Hartsburg wants them to play.
"We're a little more confident in our system now, we're a little more sure of where we're supposed to be going," said centre Jason Spezza
. "Our roles are more defined, I think, and (Alex Auld
) has made some big saves at key times and we've (gotten) key goals from different guys.
"A combination of all of that got us where we are right now."
Around the boards
Auld (4-2-1) makes his seventh straight start in goal for the Senators tonight. He currently ranks third in the NHL in goals-against average (1.96) and fourth in save percentage (.935) ... Fewer than 1,500 tickets remain for tonight's game ... It's off to Raleigh, N.C., afterward for the Senators, who will face the Carolina Hurricanes at RBC Center on Friday night (7:30 p.m., Rogers Sportsnet East, Team 1200).