NHL Preview from The Sports Network
Tuesday, March 22nd (All times eastern)
Ottawa Senators (27-36-9) at Carolina Hurricanes (33-29-10), 7 p.m.
(Sports Network) - The playoff-hopeful Carolina Hurricanes will try to win consecutive games for the first time since the beginning of the month when they host the Ottawa Senators tonight at RBC Center.
The Hurricanes are three points behind Buffalo for the eighth and final playoff seed in the Eastern Conference. Carolina is coming off an overtime win against the New York Islanders and will try to get two more points tonight versus Ottawa, the only team lower than the Isles in the East standings.
The 'Canes have won two of three after losing their previous four outings, but Carolina hasn't claimed two straight victories since beating Florida and Buffalo on March 1 and 3, respectively.
Although Ottawa is last in the conference with 63 points, the Senators are currently relishing in their spoiler role. Cory Clouston's club has won its last two games and the Sens have been victorious in five of their last seven trips to the ice.
Carolina has won two of three from the Senators this season and the Hurricanes have outscored Ottawa by an 11-1 margin over the last two meetings. The 'Canes posted a 7-1 victory on Nov. 17 in Raleigh and recorded a 4-0 decision when the clubs last met on Dec. 29 at Scotiabank Place.
The Hurricanes have won four of six overall in the series and Ottawa has lost six straight at the RBC Center. The Sens' last win in Raleigh came in a 6-0 rout on Dec. 12, 2007.
Carolina recorded a dramatic victory in its last game on Friday, as the 'Canes downed the visiting Islanders, 3-2, on Joni Pitkanen's OT game-winner at 3:58 of the extra session.
As time wound down in the extra session, Jeff Skinner gained control of the puck near the goal line, then dished back to the point. Pitkanen stepped into his shot, which zipped over Al Montoya's glove and hit the net just below the crossbar on the far side.
"I think that Jeff made a nice play there, and I decided to shoot," Pitkanen admitted. "I guess the other defenseman screened a little bit and the goalie didn't see it. We need those points."
Skinner and Erik Cole tallied in regulation for the Hurricanes and Cam Ward made 35 stops for the win.
Friday's win marked the middle portion of a three-game homestand that ends tonight. The Hurricanes had lost three straight on home ice prior to the victory over New York and are 19-12-4 as the host this season.
Ottawa, meanwhile, is playing the first of two straight on the road tonight and the Sens will end March with five away tilts in a span of six games. The Senators are 14-17-4 as the visiting club this season.
The Senators went 2-1-0 on a recent homestand and won the final two tilts on the residency. The most recent victory came Saturday against Tampa Bay, as Jason Spezza scored with 1:32 left in overtime to lift Ottawa to the 3-2 win over the Lightning.
Nick Foligno netted the equalizer late in the third period for the Senators. Curtis McElhinney made 35 saves, including five in overtime, for Ottawa, while Ryan Shannon also scored.
"Pretty gritty win for us," Spezza said. "Come back like that in the third period, get the win in overtime. Definitely a good feeling right now."
In other news, the Senators signed goaltender Craig Anderson to a four-year contract extension on Monday. The deal, which is reportedly worth a total of $12.75 million, should keep the goaltender with the franchise through the 2014-15 season.
Anderson arrived in Canada's capital from the Colorado Avalanche on February 18 in exchange for fellow netminder Brian Elliott, and has gone 6-4-0 with a 2.11 goals-against average and one shutout in 11 appearances.
However, Anderson has been relegated to backup duty over the last two games due to a lower-body injury. It's unclear if he will be able to return to the crease tonight.
Senators defenseman Sergei Gonchar is expected to miss tonight's game with a concussion suffered in the second period of Saturday's game.
03/22 10:53:06 ET