NHL Preview from The Sports Network
Friday, December 23rd (All times Eastern)
Ottawa Senators (17-14-4) at Carolina Hurricanes (10-19-6), 7 p.m.
(Sports Network) - Daniel Alfredsson has tapped into the fountain of youth a bit in an effort to replace injured leading goal-scorer Milan Michalek.
The 39-year-old will try to give himself an early Christmas present with a milestone goal this evening and lift the Ottawa Senators to a fourth straight victory in a matchup with the Carolina Hurricanes, who are also without their top goal scorer.
Michalek is pacing the Senators with 19 goals this season, but has missed the past four games with a concussion and is out indefinitely. Alfredsson has picked up the pace since, logging three goals and nine points over his last four games.
Alfredsson scored the 399th goal of his career and logged two assists in last night's 4-3 overtime win against the Panthers. Bobby Butler was credited with the winning goal as his pass attempt to Erik Karlsson hit off of a Florida defender and in.
Chris Neil and Karlsson scored while Craig Anderson made 32 saves. Ottawa gave up three one-goal leads, but is still in position to win four in a row for the first time since a six-game run from Oct. 20-30.
"We had a hard time getting the momentum in the game, but I think going into the third we were just sticking to it and never quit," said Karlsson, who has two goals and five assists over his last three games.
Carolina, meanwhile, played for the fifth time in a row without Jeff Skinner on Wednesday. Skinner leads the Hurricanes with 12 goals and 24 points, but is also out with a concussion.
The Hurricanes led the Coyotes by two goals on Wednesday, but allowed three unanswered goals over the game's final 26-plus minutes to drop a 4-3 decision and lose for the fourth time in five games.
"We got that third goal and I thought we were in good shape," Hurricanes head coach Kirk Muller said. "Then they get that second goal and the team kind of dropped its energy. That's what we have to get away from."
Tuomo Ruutu, Andreas Nodl and Jiri Tlusty scored for the Hurricanes, while Cam Ward allowed all four goals on 19 shots in the loss. Carolina fell to 9-1-2 when leading after two periods.
The Hurricanes won their final three meetings with the Senators last season by a 15-4 margin, but have lost a pair of encounters to the club this year. They had a seven-game home winning streak in this series halted on Oct. 25 with a 3-2 shootout loss, but have still outscored the Sens 30-12 in those eight games at RBC Center.
Sergei Gonchar is pacing the Senators with four points -- all assists -- versus Carolina this year, while Jason Spezza has three goals and Anderson has been in net for both wins.
Ruutu has a goal and two assists versus Ottawa this year, while captain Eric Staal has a goal and a helper. Ward has just an .887 save percentage in the two meetings.
12/23 10:56:43 ET