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Senators turn to Elliott

by Rob Brodie / Ottawa Senators
Brian Elliott's time has arrived for the Ottawa Senators.

Head coach Craig Hartsburg announced earlier today that Elliott will make his second career National Hockey League start in goal when the Senators face off against the New York Rangers at Scotiabank Place tonight (7 p.m., CBC, Team 1200).

Elliott was summoned Friday from the Sens' American Hockey League affiliate in Binghamton, N.Y., fuelling speculation that Hartsburg might give the 23-year-old goaltender a shot. Elliott has been a standout for the B-Sens this season, posting an 18-8-1 record with a 2.31 goals-against average and .926 save percentage. His play earned Elliott the starting position for the Canadian team in the AHL All-Star Classic, set for Jan. 26 in Worcester, Mass. He was also the league's goaltender of the month in December.

"He's been outstanding in Binghamton," Hartsburg said after the Senators' pre-game skate. "He's won a ton of games and he's probably been their best player ... that's what I was told by Bryan (Murray, the Sens GM). It's time for him to have an opportunity here,

"The whole load doesn't fall on the goaltenders, but we need some saves, some big saves and he's done it down there."

In his only previous NHL start, Elliott backstopped the Senators to a 3-1 victory over the Atlanta Thrashers on Oct. 10, 2007.

Alex Auld is the backup tonight, while Martin Gerber sits out. Hartsburg also confirmed that defenceman Filip Kuba, who's missed the last eight games with a groin injury, will return to the lineup.

Fewer than 1,000 tickets remain for the game.

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