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 NHL.com.
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.