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Senators looking forward to big Washington test

by Rob Brodie / Ottawa Senators

OTTAWA - The Ottawa Senators announced today their Minor Hockey Week tribute to players, coaches, officials and volunteers, which runs from Oct. 14 to Oct. 22.

Created in partnership with Scotiabank and the two minor hockey governing bodies in the National Capital Region — the Ottawa District Minor

The Senators will give Alex Auld his first start of the season in goal on Saturday night, when they face the Capitals in Washington (Getty Images).

Sometimes, a short memory can serve a rather useful purpose.

Count on the Ottawa Senators to quickly file away the result of their latest outing — a 7-1 loss at the hands of the Colorado Avalanche on Thursday night at Scotiabank Place. Then again, surely there's precious little time to dwell on it, given that the unbeaten (3-0-0) Washington Capitals are awaiting the young Sens on Saturday night at the Verizon Center (7 p.m., CBC, Team 1200).

"That game's over and done with," forward Nick Foligno said before the Senators boarded their flight to the American capital. "We just want to move on and become a winning team. It starts by preparing ourselves at game time and the night before and realizing that we need to be a skating team, a team that's working hard on both sides of the puck.

"If we do that, we're going to give ourselves a really good chance to win, like we did against Minnesota (a 4-3 shootout win on Tuesday night) ... It's about doing the little things and doing them right. It's something the coaches are preaching and we just have to come out and do it. We have to listen to them and do it."

A little bit of perspective is likely necessary at this point, too. With such a young lineup hitting the ice every night, head coach Paul MacLean acknowledges "sometimes the learning bumps are pretty heavy and the potholes are deep." But it's also very early, too.

"It’s all a learning process," said forward Colin Greening. "The biggest thing is to remember that we are a young team. For all those people who are worrying about us, just remember it’s only four games into the season and we’ve got 78 more to go. We’re working on learning the systems right and communication with each other.

"This is not a group of guys that’s been together for a number of years. This is a new team and this is a process. I think we’ve got a lot of talent on this team and we showed against Minnesota that when we play well, good things happen and we get rewarded for it. I think we’re fine."

With that thought in mind, MacLean and his coaching staff sat the team down for a video session before hitting the ice at the Bell Sensplex. And as they prepared to head off to the airport, the Senators sounded like a team that knows better days aren't too far away.

"We've got to regroup tomorrow and go back at it and put that (loss) behind us," said forward Chris Neil. "We want to get better every day. You have to work on stuff and we did that today. I look at it as we got better today and we're going to be better for it tomorrow."

Around the boards

Forward Bobby Butler, just back in the lineup after sitting out two games as a healthy scratch, tweaked a groin muscle against the Avs and is doubtful for the matchup with the Capitals. "At this point, I don't anticipate he'll go to Washington," said MacLean ... Alex Auld makes his first goaltending start of the season on Saturday. Craig Anderson went 1-3-0 in starting every game to date, but MacLean said "it's Alex's turn to play" ... The Binghamton Senators have a busy weekend ahead in American Hockey League play. The B-Sens (0-2-0) are home to the Syracuse Crunch tonight at Broome County Veterans Arena, then hit the road for games against the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins on Saturday and Albany Devils on Sunday.

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