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The unheralded Sens
Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) - A team needs strong performances from some unheralded players to survive injuries to its best player in all three phases of the game, and the Ottawa Senators have had just that to hold onto the fifth seed in the Eastern Conference.

Ottawa's top offensive player Jason Spezza, defensive player Erik Karlsson and goaltender Craig Anderson have missed a combined 56 games, and top-line winger Milan Michalek has been sidelined for an additional 15, but the Sens have put together a six-game point streak (4-0-2) and are 9-2-4 over the last 15 games.

Here are the players who have helped Ottawa pick up the pieces.

Kyle Turris, center - Turris, the No. 3 overall pick by the Phoenix Coyotes in 2007, has never had more than 12 goals or 29 points in a season, but he has emerged with four goals and six points over his last five games. Turris has eight goals, 11 assists and 69 SOG in 30 games this season.

Daniel Alfredsson, right wing - Alfredsson has been with Ottawa for 17 years and amassed 422 goals and 1,100 points in 1,160 games, so he's hardly unheralded. But he has picked up his production with two goals and seven points over his last seven games. He has had to step back onto the top power-play line with Spezza and Michalek out and has produced three PPP over his last four games.

Guillaume Latendresse, left wing - Latendresse played a total of 27 games over the last two seasons with Minnesota and missed all of February plus the first 10 days of March due to migraines. However, he has returned with three goals and two assists over his last five games and has been skating on the No. 1 power-play line with Turris and Alfredsson.

Sergei Gonchar, defenseman - Gonchar has been in the NHL longer than Alfredsson, playing 1,159 games for four teams over 18 seasons, but he hasn't been this valuable in fantasy since 2009-10 with Pittsburgh. He has a goal and 12 assists during his eight-game scoring streak and two goals, 18 assists and 53 SOG in 27 games this season.

Patrick Wiercioch, defenseman - With Gonchar stepping into Karlsson's spot, the Sens have needed Wiercioch to take Gonchar's role as the No. 2 blueliner. The 22-year-old has responded with four goals, eight points and 20 SOG over his last eight games.

Robin Lehner, goaltender - Ben Bishop was the first man Ottawa went to between the pipes when Anderson sprained his ankle, and he went 4-1 with a 1.54 GAA and .955 SV% in February. But his 3.23 GAA in March has given the 21-year-old Lehner more opportunities, and he has succeeded so far with a 2-0-4 record, 1.90 GAA and .946 SV% in six starts. Lehner has started four of the last six games.

Comments? Criticism? Applause? Contact Thomas J. Harrigan at

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