Hurricanes-Senators Preview

Roughly a month ago, the Ottawa Senators were putting together

their best stretch of the season, and one of those victories came

at the expense of the Carolina Hurricanes.

Now, they’re just trying to avoid extending their slide at

Scotiabank Place.

The Senators attempt to re-establish their home success against

the Hurricanes and snap a three-game losing streak there

Sunday.

Ottawa (10-10-2) put together a season-high six-game winning

streak last month that included a 3-2 shootout victory over

Carolina (8-12-4) on Oct. 25.

The Senators are 3-5-2 since and have dropped all three home

games. Despite that slide, Ottawa is 5-4-1 at Scotiabank Place, and

will be playing there for the only time in a 10-game span.

The Senators concluded a 3-2-1 trip with a 6-3 loss at

Pittsburgh on Friday. Kaspars Daugavins scored 1:19 into the game,

but Craig Anderson gave up four goals on eight shots in the ensuing

7:52.

“I think the game was lost in the first five minutes by not

being prepared to play,” coach Paul MacLean said. “That’s my

responsibility to make sure the team is ready to play.”

Jason Spezza, the team leader with 20 points, hopes to end an

11-game goal drought, his longest since going 13 games without

scoring from March 18-April 11, 2006.

He has three assists in three games, but was held pointless

against the Penguins. Spezza scored in regulation and beat Cam Ward

for the only shootout goal in the last meeting with Carolina.

Spezza has an eight-game home point streak against the

Hurricanes, totaling four goals and nine assists while leading the

Senators to wins in seven of those matchups.

A shoulder injury sidelined him for the latest home meeting with

Carolina on Dec. 29, 2010. Ward led the Hurricanes to a 4-0 victory

in that game with 37 saves.

Ward figures to get a fifth consecutive start overall with wins

in three of his last four against Ottawa. He has a 1.47

goals-against average during those games.

He’s 2-1-1 with a 2.22 GAA in the past four contests, but his 27

saves weren’t enough in Friday’s 3-1 loss to Winnipeg. That defeat

came two days after Carolina squandered a two-goal lead in a 4-3

shootout loss to Montreal.

“We just have to find a way to play a solid 60 minutes,”

defenseman Tim Gleason told the team’s official website.

Leading scorer Jeff Skinner is trying to avoid going three

consecutive games without a point for the first time since Feb.

19-25. He leads the Hurricanes with nine goals and 21 points, with

one tally coming against the Senators last month. However, he

hasn’t scored in two visits to Ottawa and has just one goal in the

last five road games.

Some production from Eric Staal would be a welcome change. The

Carolina captain has one goal in 18 games after scoring three times

in the previous five. He’s a league-worst minus-17 this season.