Burrows to debut for Senators when they host Avalanche (Mar 02, 2017)

OTTAWA — Newly acquired wingers Alex Burrows and Viktor Stalberg will play prominent roles when they make their Senators debuts at Canadian Tire Centre against the Colorado Avalanche on Thursday.

Burrows is expected to start on Ottawa’s first line with Kyle Turris and Mike Hoffman, while Stalberg is likely to start on the revamped fourth line with Chris Kelly and Tommy Wingels and also killing penalties on a unit that surrendered three power play goals to the Tampa Bay Lightning in Monday’s 5-1 loss.

“We’re a better team today than we were a few weeks ago,” said GM Pierre Dorion, who also traded Curtis Lazar to Calgary for blue-line depth in Jyrki Jokipakka and a second-round pick at the deadline. “We’ve addressed a lot of our needs.”

Not to be overlooked is the improvement of a fourth line coach Guy Boucher had previously been reluctant to trust.

“I’m like a kid under the Christmas tree,” Boucher said. “It’s great to look at your board and see your options. That’s what it has given us now. We can spread those guys around and not tire guys out, and that’s what had been happening lately because of injuries.”

The Avalanche will be without wingers Jerome Iginla and Andreas Martinsen, who were dealt Wednesday to Los Angeles and Montreal, respectively. But playing with a sense of relief will be Matt Duchene and Gabriel Landeskog, two budding stars who were mentioned frequently in trade speculation over the past month.

“It was a little bit of a crazy day,” Duchene said after Wednesday’s practice at Canadian Tire Centre. “Everybody is walking around on pins and needles, kind of wondering what’s going to go on. There’s some uncertainty there. There’s some anxiety there, I’m sure. We wanted to make sure we had a good day of practice and tried to get better here today. I thought the guys were in good spirits going out on the ice.

“I think the guys are happy Iggy’s got a chance to go and hopefully take a run at a Cup. Now our focus is on making sure we’re doing the right things come tomorrow night.”

Landeskog admitted to a sense of relief.

“I want to be here,” said the winger, whose team is coming off a 4-0 loss in Philadelphia on Tuesday. “I want to remain an Avalanche for a long time so I’m happy to be here on this day and for 3 o’clock to be over with. Now we can just focus on trying to get better as a team and preparing for next year and making sure we’re coming back after the summer and as a better hockey team.”

Craig Anderson will start in goal for the Senators, who are returning home after a 2-2 split on a four-game road trip. The team announced Wednesday that winger Chris Neil will miss “weeks” with a broken finger suffered in a fight with Florida’s Shawn Thornton on the trip.

Calvin Pickard is expected to start in goal for Colorado.