by Todd Anderson
Senators forward Peter Schaefer will be in the lineup tonight when the Ottawa Senators visit the Montreal Canadiens. The winger has missed the last four games while resting a hip-flexor injury. He's excited to get back into action and to play on a line with captain Daniel Alfredsson and Dean McAmmond.
"It's been a while," Schaefer said after today's pre-game skate. "Hopefully, I can get out there, get the feel for it, and contribute. Dean's a super-fast player, a great player that sees the ice well. I'm just going to go out there, work hard in the corners, and try and find Alf and give him the puck."
Senators head coach Bryan Murray hopes the insertion of Schaefer onto the line will help his captain bump out of a slump that has seen him score just one goal -- into an empty net -- this season. Murray's expectations from Alfredsson aren't all about scoring, however.
"I want him to work hard and make that line a productive line if we possibly can, but certainly a line that the other team has to worry about. I think if we can get Peter Schaefer back on the left side, it will get (Alfredsson) a little more ammunition that he can play with."
Alfredsson remains in a positive frame of mind.
"I feel like it's going in the right direction. I've been feeling good in practice. I just need to take it into games. I think as you get older, you can't force things. You try to play a pretty simple game and just work hard."
Ottawa leads the season series over the Canadiens 1-0-0 after a 3-2 shootout victory on Oct. 14 in Montreal. Antoine Vermette and Mike Fisher were successful in that shootout while goaltender Ray Emery saved both shootout attempts against him. Emery returns to the goal tonight searching for his fourth win of the season.