Back in the win column following the Olympic break, the Ottawa Senators look for continued success on their three-game trip in Western Canada.
The Senators hope to keep getting their offense back on track Thursday when they face a surging Calgary Flames team back in the top eight in the Western Conference.
Ottawa (37-25-5) won 14 of 16 before the Olympic break and entered the two-week hiatus with a one-point lead over Buffalo atop the Northeast Division. The Senators, though, went 0-2-1 following the break prior to Tuesday’s 4-1 victory at Edmonton.
They scored only one goal in each game during the losing streak, failing to muster more than 26 shots in any of them. Ottawa had 39 shots Tuesday and two power-play goals in the third period after scoring one in the previous three games combined.
“We didn’t play well the first two games after the Olympics but we had a gutsy effort to build from in our last one (against Toronto) with a bunch of guys sick,” said Alfredsson, who missed Saturday’s game with the flu before matching a season high with three assists against the Oilers.
“That carried into tonight. I thought we played a strong game. The biggest thing was having a strong effort and getting the power play going in the third.”
The Senators, whose trip ends Saturday against Northwest Division-leading Vancouver, are looking for back-to-back road wins for the first time since a six-game run Jan. 14-Feb. 3. However, they have lost three straight in Calgary since a 1-0 victory Jan. 9, 2003.
Ottawa snapped a five-game slide to the Flames (33-24-9) on Feb. 9 with a 3-2 home win. Jarkko Ruutu(notes), Jason Spezza(notes) and Alex Kovalev(notes) scored for the Senators while Brian Elliott(notes) made 27 saves in his first career start versus Calgary.
Elliott, expected to be in net again Thursday, has been outstanding in his last 16 starts, going 13-3-0 with a 2.15 goals-against average. Now he faces a Flames club averaging 4.7 goals during its three-game winning streak.
Calgary moved a point ahead of Detroit for the eighth and final playoff spot in the West with Tuesday’s 4-2 road victory over the Red Wings.
“Every game is such a big game and we have to treat each one like a playoff game,” said coach Brent Sutter, whose team hasn’t won four in a row since a 5-0-0 stretch from Dec. 28-Jan. 5.
He snapped a 19-game goal-scoring drought against Detroit and now tries for his first goal in nine home games against the Senators since Dec. 10, 1996. Iginla had two assists in the Feb. 9 loss in Ottawa.
Kiprusoff, who has allowed seven goals in two home starts since the Olympic break, needs one victory to reach 30 for the fifth consecutive season.
Rene Bourque(notes), one goal shy of matching his career high of 21 after scoring the game-winner Tuesday, posted his first career hat trick in the Senators’ last visit to Pengrowth Saddledome as the Flames won 6-3 on Dec. 27, 2008.