Senators-Hurricanes Preview

The Ottawa Senators may be dealing with a lot of injuries, but

it isn’t slowing down their offense.

Red-hot Daniel Alfredsson will try for career goal No. 400 when

the surging Senators visit the Carolina Hurricanes on Friday

night.

Ottawa has scored 14 goals in winning its last three games – all

at home. The Senators (17-14-4) held on for a 4-3 overtime win over

Florida on Thursday after giving up the tying goal with 1:12

remaining in regulation. Bobby Butler scored the winner 2:02 into

the extra period.

Ottawa had seven players record at least one point. Alfredsson

had three, including his 399th career regular-season goal – his

third in four games to go along with six assists.

“I think healthwise I feel like I’m skating and getting up and

down the ice at the rate I’d like to,” said Alfredsson, who missed

five games in November with a concussion.

The Senators’ offense could be even more potent with the

impending return of Milan Michalek, who has a team-leading 19

goals. He hasn’t played since Dec. 13 when he collided with

teammate Erik Karlsson and suffered a concussion, but is hoping to

return next week.

“I’ve had good days, three or four in a row … but you never

know how it’s going to be with a concussion,” Michalek told the

Senators’ official website earlier this week.

Meanwhile, center Jesse Winchester missed Thursday’s game after

suffering a concussion in Tuesday’s win over Buffalo. Fellow center

Peter Regin suffered a shoulder injury in that victory and is out

as well.

Ottawa is hoping it can withstand those absences as it goes for

its third straight victory over Carolina (10-19-6). The Senators

defeated the Hurricanes 4-3 on Nov. 27 following a 3-2 shootout

victory at home Oct. 25.

Struggling Carolina fell to 2-8-3 in its last 13 games after

blowing a 3-1 lead in a 4-3 loss to Phoenix on Wednesday.

Three nights earlier, the Hurricanes coughed up a 2-1 lead

against Florida in an overtime loss.

“What we have to learn is to be more resilient,” said coach Kirk

Muller, who is 2-6-0 since taking over. “We got that third goal

(Wednesday) and I thought we were in good shape. When they got that

second goal and you can see our body language and the team dropped

its energy.

“That’s what we’ve got to get away from. We still had the lead,

so I thought we were still in good shape.”

Cam Ward, who has started all but two of the last 13 games, has

posted a 3.60 goals-against average and an .879 save percentage

during that stretch. He faced only 19 shots Wednesday, but gave up

two goals on five shots in the third period.

If Ward starts again Friday, he’ll look to improve on a 5-1-1

home record against the Senators. He has a 1.48 GAA during the last

six of those starts after making 28 saves in the October shootout

loss.

A visit from Ottawa could also provide a much-needed boost to

Eric Staal, who has six goals and eight assists in the last 10

meetings.

Staal’s miserable season continued Wednesday as he was held

without a point for a third straight game while finishing with a

minus-3 rating.

“I’ve got to be the best player on the ice on a night like

tonight, and I wasn’t,” said Staal, who has an NHL-worst minus-21

mark.

Carolina has lost six of seven at home, though it’s 7-0-1 in its

last eight versus Ottawa in Raleigh.