Senators-Hurricanes Preview

Balanced production has the Ottawa Senators off to a strong

start, and they may need it to continue for some time.

With top center Jason Spezza out indefinitely, the Senators try

for a third consecutive victory overall and some rare road success

against the Carolina Hurricanes on Friday night.

Ottawa (5-1-1) ranks among the NHL leaders with 24 goals and

it’s gotten that production from 13 players. Daniel Alfredsson was

one of five Senators with a goal and 12 with a point in a 5-1 win

over Montreal on Wednesday.

“It’s goal scoring by committee,” said coach Paul MacLean, who

has watched seven of his players score eight goals in the last two

games. “We’re going to have to be that hard-working team that

grinds out some goals. We did that (Wednesday) and we have to

continue to do it.”

The Senators will need that type of team effort to offset the

absence of Spezza, who will undergo back surgery Friday to address

a herniated disc. Spezza, who has missed the last two contests

after getting injured, has two goals and three assists in five


“We are hoping that he gets back at the later part of the season

and, if we’re in the playoffs, (he) will be able to participate at

that time,” general manager Bryan Murray told

Ottawa knows it will have to maintain its identity as a team

that gets contributions from everyone to continue its success.

“We know we have to work hard every night and that’s what we

do,” said Alfredsson, who has a goal and three assists in the last

three contests. “When you’ve got good things going for you it’s a

lot easier obviously.”

Center Mika Zibanejad, the sixth overall pick in 2011, had one

assist in nine games last season but notched his first career goal

against the Canadiens. It came after the 19-year-old recorded an

assist in a 3-2 win over Washington on Tuesday in his season


“I think he’s even more relaxed than he was last year in the

first nine games when he played with us,” MacLean said. “I think

he has a little more maturity and I think he’s shown that he

appreciates being in the NHL.”

Craig Anderson looked relaxed while stopping 31 shots Wednesday

to improve to 5-0-1 with a 0.99 goals-against average.

Anderson is 2-0-3 with a 2.67 GAA at Raleigh, but the Hurricanes

are 8-0-1 at home against the Senators since a 6-0 loss there Dec.

12, 2007. Ottawa’s lone victory in the last nine road games against

Carolina came in a shootout, 3-2 on Oct. 25, 2011.

Carolina (2-3-0) has won five of seven overall against the

Senators but is looking to bounce back from a 5-3 home loss to

Boston on Monday. The Hurricanes rallied from a pair of two-goal

deficits before allowing the Bruins to score twice in the third


Eric Staal had a goal and an assist and Jeff Skinner also scored

for Carolina, which is 3 of 26 on the power play after failing on

all six chances Monday.

“We’ve got to get the job done and get production on the power

play,” coach Kirk Muller told the Hurricanes’ official website.

Staal has totaled all four of his goals and two assists in the

last three games, while Skinner has scored all of his team-leading

five goals in a career-high four straight contests.

Carolina’s Cam Ward is 1-3-0 with a 4.51 GAA this season but

6-1-1 with a 1.97 GAA at home versus Ottawa.

Veteran Senators defenseman Sergei Gonchar is expected back in

the lineup Friday after missing one game.