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Friday, March 5th (All times eastern)

Ottawa Senators (35-17-9-5) at Philadelphia Flyers (34-16-12-6), 7 p.m.

(Sports Network) - The battle for the top seed in the Eastern Conference hits Philadelphia tonight when the Flyers welcome the Ottawa Senators to the Wachovia Center.

Philadelphia, holding 86 points, is tied with Tampa Bay and Toronto for the East lead -- two ahead of Ottawa and Boston.

The Flyers are coming off Wednesday's 5-2 victory over visiting Nashville. Kim Johnsson had two goals and an assist to lead the way. Tony Amonte chipped in a goal and a pair of assists, as the Flyers put the brakes on a three-game winless streak (1-1-1-1).

Alexei Zhamnov had a goal and an assist and Sami Kapanen added an empty-netter for Philadelphia, which has won six of its last eight at home. Zhamnov has three goals and four assists since coming to the Flyers via trade from Chicago.

Robert Esche was solid in net with 22 saves on 24 shots in his second start since returning from a knee injury.

Philadelphia, which is 21-7-2-3 on its ice this season, will visit Washington on Saturday.

Ottawa, meanwhile, is 1-2-1 in its last four games, including Wednesday's 4-3 loss in Buffalo in the back end of a home-and-home. The Sens had trounced the Sabres, 7-1, last Saturday.

In Wednesday's contest, Patrick Lalime stopped 23 shots for Ottawa, which is only 2-4-1 in its last seven road games. Daniel Alfredsson scored twice and Marian Hossa added a tally in the setback. Hossa extended his point streak to six games (3g, 4a).

Peter Bondra had a golden opportunity to get the equalizer for Ottawa with under a minute remaining. Sabres goalie Martin Biron, though, made a sprawling glove save at the doorstep to preserve the win. Bondra has two goals in seven games since being obtained from Washington.

Ottawa winger Martin Havlat missed his second straight game after being suspended for a high-sticking incident against the Flyers' Mark Recchi in a 1-1 tie last Thursday. Despite having missed a couple practices with an illness, the Czech forward is expected to be in the lineup tonight.

The Senators will host Nashville on Saturday before embarking on a five-game road trip Monday in Washington.

Ottawa is 1-0-1 against Philly this season, and 2-0-3 in the last five non- playoff meetings. The Sens have also eliminated the Flyers from the postseason in each of the last two years.

03/05 10:26:29 ET


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