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NHL Preview from The Sports Network



Saturday, January 25th (All times Eastern)

Ottawa Senators (22-19-10) at Carolina Hurricanes (22-19-9), 12 p.m.

(SportsNetwork.com) - Snowy weather may have shuffled the Carolina Hurricanes' schedule around this week, but it hasn't hurt their play on the ice.

The 'Canes will try for a third straight victory on Saturday afternoon when they welcome the Ottawa Senators for a battle at PNC Arena.

Today's game was originally scheduled for Friday, but was pushed back a day to accommodate the Hurricanes. Carolina was originally slated to play Tuesday in Philadelphia, but that tilt was postponed until the following day due to weather. The 'Canes then visited Buffalo on Thursday and had Friday's test moved back because they couldn't play on three consecutive days.

Saturday's game is an important one in the Eastern Conference playoff race. The Senators are currently two points out of the East's last postseason berth and Carolina is just one point behind Ottawa.

The Hurricanes recorded a 4-1 win over a visiting Senators club on Nov. 24, giving Carolina wins in five of the last six meetings. Ottawa has dropped three straight and 10 of the past 11 encounters in Raleigh.

Carolina notched a 3-2 win in Philly and followed with a 5-3 decision against the Sabres. The Hurricanes hope to keep heading in the right direction on Saturday, when they play the first of two straight on home ice. Carolina is 11-10-5 as the host this season and will play six of seven tests in Raleigh before the NHL breaks for the Winter Olympics early next month.

The Hurricanes and Sabres were tied at 2-2 after 40 minutes on Thursday and Buffalo grabbed a one-goal lead just 48 seconds into the third period. However, Alexander Semin and Andrej Sekera scored 2:25 apart for Carolina near the midway point of the third to give Carolina the lead for good.

Jiri Tlusty, who scored the game-winner with 6:10 left in the third period on Wednesday, added an empty-net goal in the final seconds to seal the win in Buffalo.

"We're starting to really gel together right now," said Carolina head coach Kirk Muller. "We're getting the goaltending, our big guys are starting to score and our other guys are playing their roles. You put it together, you're getting some good results."

Semin finished with two goals, Sekera added two assists and Anton Khudobin made 26 saves for a Hurricanes team that won for the third time in four games.

Ottawa is 7-1-3 over its last 11 games, but the club enters Saturday having lost three of its past four tilts.

After opening a four-game road trip with a 2-0 win in Washington on Monday, the Senators dropped a 4-3 shootout decision Thursday against the Tampa Bay Lightning. Ottawa was able to salvage a point thanks to Chris Neil's game- tying goal with 2:18 remaining in the third period.

Clarke MacArthur and Erik Karlsson both posted a goal and an assist for the Sens, while Craig Anderson made 35 stops in a losing effort. Ex-Ottawa goaltender Ben Bishop stopped 33-of-36 shots to earn the win for the Lightning.

"We competed all night and I think we did the things we needed to do to be in this game," said Anderson. "We got a point, so there is that."

Ottawa, which will complete its trip Tuesday at Columbus, is 11-8-5 as the road team this season.

01/25 10:20:41 ET

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