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Oilers' talent, speed catches Senators' attention

by Rob Brodie / Ottawa Senators
Goaltender Craig Anderson and the Senators are looking to finish off an Alberta sweep against the Oilers in Edmonton tonight (Getty Images).

Nobody needs to remind the Ottawa Senators that the past is indeed the past.

Just two days ago, the Senators' ears were filled with talk of their lengthy drought between victories at the Scotiabank Saddledome in Calgary. Then Ottawa went out made all that chatter moot by posting a 3-1 victory over the Flames on Tuesday night.

With that thought in mind, don't expect the Senators to put too much stock in their recent run of success against the Edmonton Oilers heading into their matchup at Rexall Place tonight (9:30 p.m., Sportsnet Sens, Team 1200). Ottawa is 7-1-0 in its last eight outings against the Oilers and has won four straight in the Alberta capital, including a 5-3 triumph when the teams last met there on Feb. 12.

"What happened in the past ... different teams, different players," cautioned Senators goaltender Craig Anderson, who owns a 6-3-1 lifetime record against the Oilers. "You've got to come in and be ready to go. My job is to give the team a chance to win, regardless of what city we're in."

The OIlers (9-6-2) are returning home after a six-game road trip that ended with three straight losses. But with dynamic young talent such as Taylor Hall, Jordan Eberle and top Calder Trophy candidate Ryan Nugent-Hopkins in the lineup, there's plenty to grab the Senators' (9-9-1) attention tonight.

"It doesn't matter what sweater over there you're playing against," said Anderson. "All the teams are pretty good in this league and, on any given night, you can be embarrassed by the last-place team or the first-place team. It doesn't matter where they are in the standings, any team can make you (work to) earn that victory."

Added head coach Paul MacLean: "They'll present a challenge to us. They've got pretty good team speed and we're going to have to skate tonight if we're going to have a chance."

Around the boards

No lineup changes for tonight, meaning blueliner David Rundblad will be a healthy scratch for a third straight game ... The Senators last recorded a sweep in Alberta in 2003, when Patrick Lalime blanked the Flames 1-0 and the Oilers 2-0 ... Ottawa has won two straight on its current six-game road stretch, which continues Sunday in Vancouver against the Canucks (9 p.m., Sportsnet East, Team 1200) ... Nikolai Khabibulin gets the start in goal tonight for the Oilers ... A sore back will keep Edmonton centre Sam Gagner out of tonight's contest.

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