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Senators braced for Flyer test

by Rob Brodie / Ottawa Senators
Chris Campoli and the Senators expect a major test from the Philadelphia Flyers at the Wachovia Center this evening (Photo by Richard Wolowicz/Getty Images).

Check out the NHL's game notes for tonight's Ottawa-Philadelphia matchup.

The faces behind the bench and in goal have changed.

But the Ottawa Senators expect to see a healthy dose of the same old Flyers when the teams square off tonight at the Wachovia Center in Philadelphia (7 p.m., TSN2, Team 1200).

Since the teams last met in the City of Brotherly Love (a 5-1 Philadelphia victory on Nov. 12), the Flyers have gone into a free fall, dropping eight of their last 10 games. The skid cost head coach John Stevens his job, with Peter Laviolette now behind the Philly bench.

Then earlier this week, the Flyers learned starting goaltender Ray Emery will be sidelined for six to eight weeks with an abdominal tear. That means tonight's matchup will feature a pair of No. 2s between the pipes – the Senators' Brian Elliott, who's making his 10th straight start since Pascal Leclaire went down with a fractured cheekbone, and Brian Boucher of the Flyers.

Despite all the turmoil in Philadelphia, Senators head coach Cory Clouston expects nothing less than a stern test from a team coming off a 6-2 pasting of the New York Islanders on Tuesday night.

"They should have a lot of confidence off their last win," Clouston said after the Sens' pre-game skate at the Wachovia Center. "They’re always tough to beat in their own barn. We expect a real good game with them and we know we’re going to have to play at our best to come away with two points."

"They should have a lot of confidence off their last win. They’re always tough to beat in their own barn. We expect a real good game with them and we know we’re going to have to play at our best to come away with two points." - Cory Clouston
The Senators will have to get it done without defenceman Alex Picard, who will sit out again tonight with an upper-body injury. But Clouston is hopeful he'll be available by Saturday, when Ottawa faces off against the Carolina Hurricanes at Scotiabank Place (7 p.m., CBC, Team 1200).

"We want to make sure it's not a recurring (thing)," said Clouston.

Clouston has been pleased with the way fellow blueliner Chris Campoli – who sat out a pair of games last week as a healthy scratch – has stepped up in Picard's absence.

"Playing with Matt (Carkner), I think he’s found his game a little bit," Clouston said of Campoli. "His plays the last couple of games have been very good. Sometimes, you get a different perspective (from the press box) and you see some things you don't see sitting on the bench. It's a chance to maybe look a little bit inside as well."

Around the boards


After a one-goal effort in Tuesday's 4-1 loss to the Montreal Canadiens, Clouston has switched back to a pair of familiar combinations up front. Jason Spezza is back between Milan Michalek and Daniel Alfredsson, while Mike Fisher will again centre Alex Kovalev and Nick Foligno ... TSN2 has just been added to Videotron's channel lineup, meaning tonight's game is now available to cable TV customers in Quebec ... Fewer than 4,000 tickets remain for Saturday's matchup with the Hurricanes, which is also a  Metro Family Game.


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