by Todd Anderson
The Ottawa Senators will receive a boost on the blueline tonight when defenceman and alternate captain Wade Redden returns to action against the Minnesota Wild. Redden has missed the last four games with a groin injury but is ready to return.
"I've skated hard and (the groin) has reacted well," Redden said after this morning's skate. "I feel good about it. It's been a little while now and I'm looking forward to get playing again."
Senators head coach Bryan Murray says the return of Redden will make things easier on everyone.
"He's an impact player with this club. He and Mes (Andrej Meszaros) will probably be back together like last year. (The addition of Redden) relieves the pressure off other guys who may play against players of another calibre now. He's also one of the best breakout passers in the NHL. Problems in our own end could be resolved with one player coming back."
Leading the NHL with a 1.91 goals-against average and .933 save percentage, goaltender Ray Emery makes his fourth consecutive start in goal for Ottawa tonight.
"He's giving confidence to the players," Murray said of Emery's play this season. "Goaltending is everything. We got outshot against Buffalo 6-1 to start last game and Ray made some stops for us. He stopped (Sabre Chris) Drury on a breakaway, that's the game. A goaltender has to be the dominant player in the game. Ray is very definitely at that level right now."
White returns to Scotiabank Place
Tonight marks the first game back in Ottawa for former Senator Todd White. Ottawa captain Daniel Alfredsson spoke about meeting up with his former linemate.
"He was a good lineman and friend," Alfredsson said. "He's done well in Minnesota and that's good to see. It appears he has a bigger role with the team this year, but, hopefully, he has a tough night tonight."
Second-year Wild defenceman Kurtis Foster, who hails from nearby Carp, Ont., will be playing his first NHL game in Ottawa tonight.