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NHL Preview from The Sports Network

Sunday, January 10th (All times eastern)

Ottawa Senators (22-19-4) at Carolina Hurricanes (12-24-7), 5 p.m.

(Sports Network) - The Carolina Hurricanes will try to post back-to-back wins for the first time in over a month when they welcome the struggling Ottawa Senators for tonight's clash at RBC Center.

The Hurricanes have won two of their last three games and are coming off Friday's close home win over Colorado. Carolina, which is last in the NHL with 31 points, last notched consecutive victories on December 5 and 7.

Carolina recorded a 2-1 victory against the visiting Avalanche as Cam Ward turned aside 29 shots to lead the 'Canes to the regulation win. Ray Whitney scored both goals while Matt Cullen had the primary assist on both markers for the Hurricanes, who had dropped five of seven coming into the game.

"I was real happy with the game, we ran out of gas there toward the end, but we had some really big performances tonight," said Carolina head coach Paul Maurice. "Cam Ward did what we needed him to do with the lineup that we had in. The kids worked hard and skated hard."

The Hurricanes won despite skating on Friday without a few key players. Forwards Sergei Samsonov and Erik Cole missed the game with upper-body injuries and are questionable for tonight, while centerman Eric Staal was not with the team due to the recent death of his sister-in-law. It's not clear if Staal, who has 27 points this year, will return from his leave of absence in time for tonight's tilt.

Carolina also lost winger Tuomo Ruutu to injury in Friday's game as he suffered an upper-body injury during a fight with Colorado's Darcy Tucker. Ruutu, who is doubtful for tonight, was given a three-game suspension by the NHL in October for boarding Tucker. The Finnish forward has 11 goals and 25 points for Carolina this year.

The Hurricanes ended a four-game home losing streak with Friday's win and are 9-10-3 as the host this year. The club will play its next two games on the road in Toronto and Detroit.

Ottawa, meanwhile, has lost three straight and is dealing with some significant injury problems of its own. The Senators, who already have top forwards Daniel Alfredsson and Jason Spezza on injured reserve, lost winger and leading goal-scorer Milan Michalek to an upper-body injury recently.

Michalek, who has 16 goals on the year, was injured on a hit by Washington's Mike Green on Thursday and sat out Saturday's loss to Florida. He is out for tonight's test and it's uncertain how much time he will wind up missing.

"It was our first line not too long ago," Senators coach Cory Clouston said about losing Michalek, Alfredsson and Spezza. "We need other guys to step up. We need to simplify our game even more and just keep working hard and being positive."

The Senators were shut out Saturday by Florida as Tomas Vokoun stopped all 24 shots he faced to lead the Panthers to the 3-0 road victory at Scotiabank Place.

Brian Elliott turned aside 16-of-19 shots for the Senators, who are in the midst of their longest skid since dropping four in a row from November 28- December 5.

Tonight marks the first of five straight on the road for Ottawa, which is just 6-11-1 as the guest this year.

Ottawa dealt the Hurricanes a 4-2 loss at Scotiabank Place on December 12 and has taken five of eight overall in the series. However, the Senators have been defeated in three straight trips to Raleigh.

01/10 10:49:09 ET

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