NHL Preview from The Sports Network|
Thursday, March 5th
(All times eastern)
Edmonton Oilers (31-26-6) at Ottawa Senators (23-29-10), 7:30 p.m.
(Sports Network) - The Edmonton Oilers continue an important road trip tonight
at Ottawa's Scotiabank Place, where the playoff hopefuls take on a Senators
squad that's all but given up on making the postseason.
Edmonton got its four-game trek off to a less-than-desired start, falling to
Nashville in a wild overtime affair on Tuesday. Ex-Oiler Jason Arnott scored
2:31 into extra time to lift the surging Predators to a 6-5 victory.
The Oilers trailed 3-2 after two periods but drew even with a three-goal
barrage in the third, with Erik Cole tying the contest at 5-5 with 6:08
remaining in regulation.
That would be Cole's final goal in an Edmonton uniform, as the veteran forward
was shipped to Carolina Wednesday as part of a three-team deal that landed
talented left wing Patrick O'Sullivan with the Oilers from Los Angeles.
The 24-year-old O'Sullivan registered 22 goals and 31 assists with the Kings
in 2007-08, his first full NHL campaign, and has 14 goals and 23 assists
through 62 games this season.
Edmonton also made another move in an attempt to bolster its front line prior
to yesterday's deadline, acquiring forward Ales Kotalik from Buffalo for a
second-round draft choice. The 30-year-old Czech has posted 13 goals and 19
assists in 56 games with the Sabres this season.
The moves come with the Oilers locked in heated duel for playoff positioning
in the competitive Western Conference. Edmonton is currently tied with
Nashville and Anaheim for seventh place, but the Oilers have played less games
than the Predators and Ducks. The group is also just two points behind sixth-
Ottawa is in no such position in the East, as the club currently stands 16
points out of a playoff spot and is mired in a three-game losing streak. With
that in mind, the Senators looked to next season during Wednesday's trade
The Sens acquired their probable No. 1 goaltender for 2009-10 in a deal with
Columbus that sent forward Antoine Vermette to the Blue Jackets in exchange
for Pascal Leclaire. Ottawa also signed veteran defenseman Filip Kuba, the
team's leader in plus-minus rating, to a three-year contract extension. The
32-year-old was slated to be a free agent at season's end.
Leclaire put together a breakthrough season with Columbus a year ago, posting
24 wins and six shutouts along with a 2.25 goals against average. The Quebec
native has only played in 12 games this season and will likely sit out the
remainder of the year after undergoing ankle surgery in January.
Ottawa will resume a season-long eight-game homestand tonight. After opening
the residency with a win over Carolina on February 24, the Senators have been
dealt losses by San Jose, Toronto and Calgary.
In Tuesday's 6-3 setback to the Flames, starting netminder Alex Auld was
pulled after two periods after stopping just 11-of-15 shots. Kuba scored his
second goal of the season in the loss, while Mike Foligno finished with a goal
and an assist for Ottawa.
Dany Heatley assisted on Kuba's tally and now has four goals and three assists
during a six-game scoring streak.
Edmonton, which is 16-14-2 on the road this season and will also make stops in
Toronto and Montreal on this trip, will be seeking to end a three-game losing
streak to the Senators. These teams faced off in Edmonton on December 30, with
Ottawa skating to a 3-2 victory.
The Oilers are 0-2 with a tie in their last three visits to Scotiabank Place
and haven't won in Ottawa since March 14, 2002.
03/05 10:57:13 ET