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Finding the right mix

by Staff Writer / Ottawa Senators
Two players who could see advancement in the lineup over the next stretch are young forwards Antoine Vermette, left, and Chris Kelly.

by Todd Anderson

In the next few weeks, coach Bryan Murray will continue shuffling his lines while a group of five injured Senators players look to make it back into the lineup. With just 12 games remaining in the regular season, the coach wants to establish chemistry between the combinations heading into the playoffs.

"Maybe we will experiment a little in the next few games," Murray said on Monday after practice. "I would like to settle into our (regular lineup) in the last seven or eight games."

Two players who could see advancement in the lineup over the next stretch are young forwards Antoine Vermette and Chris Kelly.

"I will probably throw Antoine up with (Daniel) Alfredsson and (Tyler) Arnason," Murray said. "The thing is, every chance (Vermette) gets to score, he puts it in. Kelly could go on the left wing in a checking role."

Black and blue report

Defenceman Anton Volchenkov (stiff neck) was back at practice on Monday, but he's still questionable for tomorrow's game against New Jersey.

Dominik Hasek (adductor muscle) expects to skate some time this week in his full equipment, without his teammates. Martin Havlat (shoulder) will be re-examined by doctors in Cleveland in the next few days. He hopes to be cleared to resume full-contact drills.

Zdeno Chara (right hand) and Mike Fisher (right ankle) still have some recovering to do, but both said they noticed significant improvements with their injuries since last week.

"Our overall competitiveness has been real good (despite the injuries)," Murray said of a period that has seen his team win four of its last five games. "We've survived pretty well here. Hopefully, there's nothing further, and we can just add (players back into the lineup).

Defenceman Wade Redden didn't skate at practice today, but he'll be in the lineup tomorrow after resting his sore hip.

Another record for Emery?

Already the holder of the NHL record for wins to begin a career with nine, Senators rookie goaltender Ray Emery could tie another NHL record tomorrow against New Jersey. The Hamilton native will be attempting to match Philadelphia Flyer Bernie Parent's mark of 12 wins in a calendar month, which he recorded in March of 1974.

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