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Senators taking aim at sweep of Rangers

by Rob Brodie / Ottawa Senators
Brian Elliott gets the call in goal tonight for the Senators in their second matchup with the Rangers in five days. Ottawa prevailed 3-1 Sunday in New York (Photo by Andre Ringuette/NHLI via Getty Images).

Let's just say it's a blueprint for success that couldn't be any fresher in their minds.

Just four days after skating off the ice at Madison Square Garden with a 3-1 victory, the Ottawa Senators will try to duplicate that result when they face off against the New York Rangers one more time tonight at Scotiabank Place (7:30 p.m., Rogers Sportsnet Sens, Team 1200).

For the Blueshirts — who haven't played since Sunday's matchup between the teams in New York — it's the back end of a true home-and-home affair. The Senators, meanwhile, are aiming to regain their scoring touch after dropping a 4-1 decision in Montreal on Tuesday night.

In their meeting earlier this week, the Senators jumped on the Rangers from the opening whistle, forcing Blueshirts coach John Tortorella to call a timeout less than five minutes into the contest. It's the kind of intense start that Senators bench boss Cory Clouston knows will help his team's cause greatly tonight.

"If we can duplicate that last game, especially that first period … (but) it’s tough to maintain that type of pressure the whole game," Clouston said following the Senators' pre-game skate earlier today. "The opposition is going to have some kind of push back, which they did in the second. But we did a real good job in that game, which we need to duplicate.

"I’m going to assume (the Rangers) are going to try to get off to a better start as far as puck possession and putting pressure on our defencemen. We’ve just got to be prepared for that. We’ve got to manage the puck well. We’ve got to make sure we keep moving the puck forward, get it deep and establish a real solid forecheck."

Added centre Mike Fisher: "No question, we have to have that same urgency and work ethic (as on Sunday). If we can bring some of that and be excited to be at home here tonight, then hopefully, we can get on a little bit of a roll."

Senators captain Daniel Alfredsson is prepared for a similar type of game against the Rangers this evening.

"We played a really up-tempo game in New York and we know (the Rangers) are a team that plays that way as well," he said. "We did a good job on Sunday and, hopefully, we can do the same thing tonight ... They've had a few days off to rest, so they should be eager to go. We’re going to do everything we can to get the edge early on and set the tempo."

"We played a really up-tempo game in New York and we know (the Rangers) are a team that plays that way as well. We did a good job on Sunday and, hopefully, we can do the same thing tonight ... They've had a few days off to rest, so they should be eager to go. We’re going to do everything we can to get the edge early on and set the tempo." - Daniel Alfredsson
There will be two lineup changes for Ottawa in the rematch. Pascal Leclaire, whose 25-save performance backstopped a three-goal effort by Chris Kelly in Sunday's win, has been battling a bit of a flu bug and is being given the night off. That means Brian Elliott, the hard-luck loser in last Saturday's 1-0 shootout setback at the hands of the Buffalo Sabres, is back between the pipes.

"Brian is coming off a shutout," said Clouston. "It's a good situation, where we've got both goaltenders playing very, very well and our guys are confident in both goaltenders."

Also returning to the lineup is forward Peter Regin, a healthy scratch for the previous two games. He'll open tonight on a line with Jesse Winchester and Alex Kovalev.

"It’s been a couple of games now, so I’m very excited to be back," Regin said when asked about watching from the press box the last two games. "You’re always disappointed and kind of angry when you’re out and you want to get back. When you get the chance, you have to make sure you’re ready and make the best of it."

Regin's mission tonight isn't much different than most of his teammates.

"Like everybody, it comes down to scoring goals," said Regin. "We don’t score right now and that’s probably why I was out."

Around the boards

Ottawa and New York last faced each other at Scotiabank Place on Oct. 2, when the Senators closed out the pre-season with an 8-5 victory that featured hat tricks by Kelly and Zack Smith ... With Regin back in the lineup, Ryan Shannon becomes the healthy scratch tonight at forward. Defenceman Brian Lee also sits out ... The Senators conclude their fifth set of back-to-back games this season on Friday night, when the New Jersey Devils visit Scotiabank Place (7:30 p.m., Rogers Sportsnet East, Team 1200).



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