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Opportunity for quick rebound enthuses Senators

by Rob Brodie / Ottawa Senators
Centre Jason Spezza says it's important for the Senators to stay positive, even in the wake of discouraging losses such as Thursday's 5-3 setback to the Rangers (Photo by Andre Ringuette/NHLI via Getty Images).

It was the type of setback that can weigh heavily on a team's psyche, especially if given too much time to dwell upon it all.

Fortunately for the Ottawa Senators, the thinking about Thursday night's crushing 5-3 loss to the New York Rangers can't last too long. Not with the New Jersey Devils in the capital for a matchup tonight (7:30 p.m., Rogers Sportsnet East, Team 1200) between two opponents sorely in need of a win.

"It’s good to get back here at the rink this morning and focus on a new game," defenceman Matt Carkner said in the wake of a loss that dropped the Senators (12-16-2) to 11th overall in the Eastern Conference standings. "(We've got to) put the past behind us, take what we can from the last game and focus on building up a lot of positives here.

"We’ve got to get ourselves headed in the right direction. We’ve been saying this for awhile and enough’s enough. We’re fortunate enough to get a chance to redeem ourselves (tonight)."

Added centre Jason Spezza: "When you lose a game, it's always good to play another one right away. You don't think about it too much and the coaches don't have too much time to analyze everything. We want to have a good game tonight and get a win."

The Senators held the lead for a good chunk of Thursday's game, never trailing until Michael Sauer notched the game-winner for the Blueshirts with 5:19 to go. Head coach Cory Clouston saw enough good things, however, to build upon tonight.

"We're down this morning," he said. "But we still feel good about how we played. We're very upset, disappointed and frustrated that we lost, but we can still draw some positives about that game, the way we played."

And with his team in the middle of a 3-9-1 skid, Spezza said the power of positive thinking is more important than ever for the Senators.

It’s good to get back here at the rink this morning and focus on a new game. (We've got to) put the past behind us, take what we can from the last game and focus on building up a lot of positives here. We’ve got to get ourselves headed in the right direction. We’ve been saying this for awhile and enough’s enough. We’re fortunate enough to get a chance to redeem ourselves (tonight)." - Matt Carkner
"We have to (be positive). There’s no real choice," he said. "There’s a lot of hockey left and if you beat yourself up too much or get too down, it’s going to be a long second half of the year. We’ve had a tough start and a tough stretch here, but you’ve got to look forward and try to get better as a team.

"Everybody’s kind of got to look in the mirror and get better themselves. If everybody plays a little bit better themselves, we’ll get better results."

The Devils (6-17-2) arrive in Ottawa as a desperate, struggling team, sitting in 14th spot in the East, just one rung higher than the cellar-dwelling New York Islanders. All of which has the Senators wary of tonight's matchup.

"In the situation we’re in now, we can’t take anybody lightly, even if they’re lower than us in the standings," said goaltender Pascal Leclaire, who makes the start for the Senators tonight. "(The Devils) are in the same camp as us — they’re fighting to get back on track and we’re no different. So both teams will come out hard and try to get the win."

Senators loan Lehner to Swedish juniors

Binghamton Senators goaltender Robin Lehner will get his chance to represent Sweden at the 2011 IIHF World Junior Hockey Championship.

The Senators announced today they're loaning the organization's top goaltending prospect to the Swedes, with Lehner slated to head off to the Tre Kronor's preparation camp for the WJC on Dec. 18. The 2011 world juniors open on Boxing Day in Buffalo.

"It's my goal to help my country win a medal," said Lehner, 19, a native of Goteborg. "I can get a lot of experience from it, too. It's good speed, good tempo, (with lots of) skilled players, so it's definitely going to be challenging."

Lehner could miss as many as seven American Hockey League games if the Swedes made it all the way to the medal games on the final day of the tournament. Sweden, which opens the world juniors Dec. 26 against Norway, also has Canada, Russia and the Czech Republic in its preliminary round group.

"I'm excited," said Lehner, a second-round pick by the Senators (46th overall) in the 2009 NHL Entry Draft. "It's a great tournament. We have a lot of good guys (on our team) this year and I'm really looking forward to it. I hope to bring something to the team, too, and it's going to be a great experience for me."



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