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NHL Preview from The Sports Network



Tuesday, February 3rd (All times eastern)

Los Angeles Kings (20-21-7) at Ottawa Senators (17-24-7), 7:30 p.m.

(Sports Network) - The Ottawa Senators hope a mid-season coaching change can help them extend their run of playoff appearances. Cory Clouston makes his debut on Ottawa's bench tonight in his new team's home contest versus the Los Angeles Kings at Scotiabank Place.

The Senators have been a fixture in the postseason since they made the playoffs for the first time in franchise history in 1996-97. That run of 11 straight postseason appearances includes a loss to the Anaheim Ducks in the Stanley Cup Finals in 2006-07.

However, Clouston becomes the Senators' fourth head coach since that run at a title. He replaces Craig Hartsburg, who was fired just 48 games into his first season at the helm after going 17-24-7, a mark that has Ottawa 13th in the conference and 14 points out of a playoff spot.

Clouston was in his second season as head coach of Ottawa's AHL affiliate in Binghamton before the coaching change, which comes just one season after the Sens fired John Paddock 64 games into last season. General manager Bryan Murray took over for the rest of that campaign before hiring Hartsburg this past offseason.

Hartsburg's final game as Ottawa's head coach was a laugher, as the Sens were defeated by the Washington Capitals, 7-4, on Sunday thanks in part to a hat trick from Alex Ovechkin.

Skating in his 900th career game, Daniel Alfredsson scored twice for Ottawa, while Antoine Vermette and Dany Heatley also scored in the Senators' third loss in their last four games.

Alex Auld replaced Brian Elliott early in the second period after the Senators' rookie netminder was beaten four times on 16 shots. Auld made 11 saves the rest of the way.

Ottawa begins a three-game homestand tonight and is 11-8-4 as the host this season.

The Kings kicked off a five-game road trip on Saturday and led Montreal by a goal before the Canadiens' Christopher Higgins scored the equalizer with 1:53 left in the third period. Los Angeles then failed to gain even a point out of the contest when the Canadiens' Saku Koivu netted a power-play tally with just 23 seconds to go.

Dustin Brown and Jarret Stoll each had a goal and an assist and Michael Handzus also tallied for the Kings, who had a three-game winning streak halted. Jonathan Quick made 22 saves in the 4-3 setback.

The Kings, who are tied for 13th in the West, will be without defenseman Denis Gauthier tonight after he was given 15 minutes worth of penalties on Saturday for charging, resulting in a five-game suspension. Gauthier left his feet to deliver an elbow to the head of Montreal's Josh Gorges.

Los Angeles is 7-10-1 as the road team this year and has won six of its last eight (6-1 with a tie) versus the Senators. The Kings have also won three of their last four in Ottawa, where they are visiting for the first time since December 2, 2005.

02/03 10:41:37 ET


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