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NHL Preview from The Sports Network



Wednesday, January 8th (All times Eastern)

Ottawa Senators (19-18-7) at Colorado Avalanche (26-12-4), 9:30 p.m.

(SportsNetwork.com) - The Ottawa Senators will aim for their first five-game winning streak since early last season when they visit the Colorado Avalanche in Wednesday's battle at Pepsi Center.

With victories in four straight trips to the ice, the Senators are on their longest winning streak of the season. Another win in Wednesday's tilt would give Ottawa five consecutive triumphs for the first time since Feb. 18-25 of last year's lockout-shortened campaign.

A playoff team in each of the past two seasons, the Senators have struggled with consistency so far in 2013-14 and currently are sitting sixth in the Atlantic Division with 45 points. However, with wins in five of their last six games the Senators finally seem headed in the right direction.

The Sens should be well-rested for Wednesday's game, as the club has been off since earning an overtime win Saturday in Montreal. Clarke MacArthur's power- play strike at 58 seconds of the extra session lifted Ottawa to a 4-3 decision over the Canadiens. Ottawa was able to notch two points in the game despite blowing a 3-1 lead by allowing the Habs to score twice early in the third period.

However, the Senators were gifted a power play with 19 seconds left in regulation when Canadiens defenseman PK Subban hooked Erik Condra at the side of the Habs' net. Ottawa had control in the hosts' zone during the resulting 4-on-3 situation, with MacArthur whipping the game-winning shot inside the near post from the right wing.

Colin Greening, Condra and Mark Stone also tallied for the Senators. Craig Anderson came up with 26 saves to help Ottawa recover from blowing the two- goal advantage.

"Special teams was huge for us tonight. We got the early lead and we go down 5-on-3, but we were able to kill that off," Anderson noted. "Condra's line kept us in the game all night."

Ottawa hopes to keep rolling tonight when captain Jason Spezza returns to the lineup following a four-game absence due to a strained hip. Spezza has 11 goals and 30 points in 39 games for the Senators this season.

The Senators are just 8-8-3 as the visiting team this season and had lost four straight on the road before Saturday's win in Montreal. Wednesday's test is the second stop on a four-game swing that will also see Ottawa visit Nashville and Minnesota.

Colorado had a three-game winning streak snapped in its most recent contest -- Monday's home loss against Calgary -- but the Avalanche have dominated the Sens in recent years, winning the last five meetings in the series. The Avs also have beaten Ottawa in two straight and four of the last six encounters in Denver.

The Avalanche dropped a 4-3 regulation decision against the Flames on Monday. A late power-play goal by Mike Cammalleri was the difference, as Calgary converted on the man advantage with 3:30 left in the third period.

Nathan MacKinnon scored twice in the loss and Paul Stastny had a goal and two assists for the Avalanche. Jean-Sebastien Giguere allowed four goals on 19 shots in the loss.

"They really capitalized on their scoring chances tonight," said Avs captain Gabriel Landeskog. "We just couldn't get any shots on net, and when we did, we took some bad penalties. It's tough. We've been in their shoes. They got a spark early and got some momentum."

The loss dropped Colorado to 15-6-2 as the host this season and to 3-1-1 so far on a seven-game homestand, a stay that is set to end Friday against the New York Islanders.

01/08 10:55:57 ET

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8:05pm Tonight
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BUF
 
6:30pm Tonight
CLB
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8:30pm Tonight
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TOWSN 31
NCCU 20
 
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NCSU 42
PRES 0