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Sens aim to head home on Rocky Mountain high

by Rob Brodie / Ottawa Senators
Pascal Leclaire and the Senators hope to get a second straight solid road effort tonight when they face the Colorado Avalanche at the Pepsi Center in Denver (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images).

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

Their whirlwind western road trip is off to a soaring start.

Now the Ottawa Senators would like to bring it back home on a Rocky Mountain high.

Fresh off an uplifting 3-1 victory over the Minnesota Wild less than 20 hours ago, the Senators aim for a road sweep in Denver tonight against the Colorado Avalanche (9 p.m., Sportsnet East, Team 1200). It won't exactly be the easiest of chores against a young, energetic group of Avs who are much more acclimated to the thinner air at altitude.

"They skate, they're aggressive and they generate offensive opportunities, and we've just got to be prepared for that," Senators head coach Cory Clouston said earlier this afternoon. "I don't know how much (the altitude) plays into it. Certain players say they feel a little bit of the (thinner air), but we'll see how everything goes.

"We want to make sure that we're not getting extended out there too long for our shifts and we'll keep them short. It helps us on our forecheck and in all areas of our game."

However, the Senators figure to be bringing a wave of extra energy with them after Thursday night's strong effort in Minnesota. They're 2-0-1 in their last three outings and, at 14-16-3, are now within five points of an Eastern Conference playoff position.

"Everyone's positive and upbeat," said Clouston. "We know it's a tough game tonight and we've got to keep our energy up. We liked our minutes the last game — everybody was involved. When you're playing back-to-back, you want to keep energy, so we should be fairly well rested considering Colorado didn't play last night."

Captain Daniel Alfredsson sees plenty of the same jump from his teammates and is looking forward to tonight's matchup with the Avs.

"Colorado's a young team that's scored a lot of goals and has a lot of speed," he said Thursday night after the win against the Wild. "It should be a fun game to play and I think we'll go in with more confidence than we had coming in (yesterday)."

Around the boards

Pascal Leclaire, who's allowed just seven goals in his previous four starts and got the win in Minnesota, gets the call tonight against the Avalanche ... Defenceman Matt Carkner (ankle laceration) will be a game-time decision. If he isn't good to go, Brian Lee stays in the lineup for a second straight game ... The last time the teams met in Denver, the Avs prevailed 3-2 in overtime on Feb. 17, 2009 ... The Senators return home to face Alex Ovechkin and the Washington Capitals on Sunday night (7:30 p.m., Sportsnet East, Team 1200). It's the last game at Scotiabank Place before the Christmas break.

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