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Long and winding road awaits Sens on road trip

by Rob Brodie / Ottawa Senators
For young Senators such as Erik Condra, the current four-game road trip against a diverse set of opponents provides an opportunity to further their development (Photo by Andre Ringuette/NHLI via Getty Images).

And now, for something completely different ...

For the Ottawa Senators, it might well describe a road trip that is wildly diverse in terms of geography, not to mention offering up a plate of opponents that figure to offer a variety of tests for a team that is now much younger.

It all starts with tonight's visit to Newark, N.J., to take on the Devils (7 p.m., Sportsnet East, Team 1200), who are on a sizzling 20-2-2 tear as they continue a remarkable charge toward playoff contention in the Eastern Conference.

"(The Devils) are starting to score goals and playing as well as anybody in the league right now," Clouston said following a pre-game team meeting earlier today at the Prudential Center. "If you look at their record over the last little while (20-2-2), it’s very, very impressive. So we know we’re in for a tough challenge tonight in a lot of areas. One is through the neutral zone. They’ve got some high-end offensive players that are really starting to produce."

From there, the Senators head south for games against the Florida Panthers on Thursday (7:30 p.m., Sportsnet East, Team 1200) and Tampa Bay Lightning on Friday (7:30 p.m., Sportsnet Sens, Team 1200) before closing out the trip Sunday in frosty Buffalo against the Sabres (5 p.m., Sportsnet East, Team 1200).

"We're going to face different teams," Clouston said in summing up the road swing. "You’ve got a different game against Florida, a different game against Tampa and then against a team in Buffalo that’s playing very well, a team that transitions very well. So we have four different types of (opponents).

"You’re playing on the road in a short period of time. You don’t have a lot of rest time. So this is a real good time to evaluate (players) and we’re still trying to win hockey games."

Speaking of different ... Ottawa goaltender Craig Anderson figures to be sporting a changed look tonight, as his new Senators-themed mask has arrived from Detroit artist John Pepe. Anderson, who's been wearing his old Colorado Avalanche mask until now, said he'll likely break out the new one tonight (photo, photo, photo).

"It's finally good to see it ... it's been well worth the wait," said Anderson, who doesn't expect much in the way of an adjustment time to the new gear. "Helmets are the easiest things to throw on and go. They all fit pretty much the same with a few adjustments. It doesn't take much to get used to them."

B-Sens set roster for rest of AHL season, playoffs

The Binghamton Senators have announced the "clear day" roster of players who will be eligible so suit for the remainder of the American Hockey League season and Calder Cup playoffs.

That roster of B-Sens players includes goaltenders Barry Brust and Robin Lehner, along with skaters Cody Bass, Andre Benoit, Bobby Butler, Erik Condra, Kaspars Daugavins, David Dziurzynski, Colin Greening, Eric Gryba, David Hale, Mike Hoffman, Ryan Keller, Geoff Kinrade, Corey Locke, Jim O’Brien, Ryan Potulny, Craig Schira, Derek Smith, Zack Smith, Roman Wick and Patrick Wiercioch.

For more details about the composition of the roster, click here.

Around the boards

During their last visit to Newark, the Senators dropped a 2-1 decision on Feb. 1, which also marked forward Colin Greening's first career NHL game ... After scoring a goal to help the Binghamton Senators to a huge 4-1 victory over the Norfolk Admirals on Sunday night, Greening was recalled by the Senators for tonight's game and met the team in New Jersey ... Forward Francis Lessard is slated to play his 100th career NHL game this evening ... Ottawa blueliner Sergei Gonchar needs one assist to reach the 500 plateau for his career ... Devils sniper Ilya Kovalchuk has produced 16 goals and 30 points in his last 30 games ... Ottawa's next home game is March 15, when ex-Sens forward Alex Kovalev and the Pittsburgh Penguins visit Scotiabank Place.

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