The Ottawa Senators hope to ring in the new year in a better way than they finished off the old one.
And Saturday’s ugly 8-6 home-ice loss at the hands of the Capitals won’t be far from mind, given the fact the teams meet again in Washington on New Year’s Day (4 p.m., A-Channel, Team 1200) to start off 2008.
Job No. 1 at the Verizon Center will be keeping a closer eye on Capitals sniper Alex Ovechkin, who burned the Senators for four goals on Saturday night at Scotiabank Place. There’s also the need to produce more scoring opportunities – the Senators registered a mere five shots at Caps goaltender Olaf Kolzig by the midway point of Saturday’s game.
“We’ve got to do more ourselves. We couldn’t pass the puck,” Senators head coach John Paddock said of Saturday’s game. “And if we’re dumb enough to pay no attention to Alex Ovechkin again, the result will be the same.”
Paddock will send Martin Gerber (19-6-1) back between the pipes for his ninth start in 10 games.
“He deserves the chance to play again after a so-so game and I don’t know that Razor’s (Ray Emery’s) game is where I want it to be,” said Paddock. “He’s worked extremely hard the last couple of days, but (starting Gerber) is what I’m going to do.
“Gerbs has the ability to bounce back. If he didn’t have that ability, he wouldn’t be a goaltender at this level.”
The Senators have recalled Cody Bass from the American Hockey League’s Binghamton Senators, and Paddock – who liked the energy the young winger brought to the lineup during a recent six-game stint with the big club – said he’ll play on Tuesday.
It also appears that the Senators are moving closer to regaining a full lineup. Paddock is hopeful that defenceman Anton Volchenkov, who’s been out with a broken finger, will be good to go Friday night in Buffalo. He added forward Patrick Eaves (separated shoulder) “won’t be too long after” Volchenkov in making his return.
“It won’t be this weekend, and we don’t play for four days after that,” said Paddock. “My assumption is that (Eaves) will be playing that next weekend.”
After Friday’s trip to Buffalo, the Senators are back at Scotiabank Place on Saturday to face the Tampa Bay Lightning (7 p.m., CBC, Team 1200). It’s the first of four straight home games for Ottawa, which spent most of December on the road.
Fewer than 100 tickets remain for Saturday’s game.Canada dumps Denmark; Finland up next in quarter-finalsKyle Turris
had a pair of goals as Canada rolled past Denmark 4-1 on Monday at the 2008 IIHF world junior hockey championship in Pardubice, Czech Republic.
John Tavares and Shawn Mattias also scored goals and Steve Mason made 15 saves for the win for Canada, which finished round-robin play 3-1-0 and second in Group A behind unbeaten Sweden.
Canada will face Finland in the quarter-finals on Wednesday, with the winner advancing to a semi-final Friday against the U.S., which went 4-0-0 in topping Group B.
Read more about the Canada-Denmark game here