Senators-Sharks Preview

Associated Press  |  Last updated January 19, 2012
The Ottawa Senators are riding a hot streak, due in part to their play on the road. If recent history is any indication, a visit to the surging San Jose Sharks is sure to threaten that run. Ottawa looks to avoid a sixth straight loss to Pacific Division-leading San Jose and earn a point in a franchise-record 11th consecutive road game when the teams meet Thursday night. The Senators (26-16-6) improved to 12-2-2 in their last 16 with a 3-2 victory at Toronto on Tuesday to open a six-game trip. They fell behind 2-0 in the first period, but began the comeback with a goal by captain Daniel Alfredsson. Kyle Turris scored the game-winner early in the third, and Craig Anderson made 37 saves for Ottawa. Alfredsson also had an assist while breaking a string of four games without a point, and Jason Spezza scored to give him seven goals and three assists in his last nine games. "I think it's just the character of what we have in the room,'' Anderson said. "Our leadership, our guys that find ways to bring it every day. You know, I think it's a credit to our captain Alfie and how he comes to the rink every day, battles hard. "That guy never takes a day off and he's just a great role model for everybody else.'' Ottawa has earned at least one point in 10 straight road games (6-0-4) to match a club record set March 4-April 7, 2007. The Senators, though, have been outscored 16-5 while losing their last five meetings with the Sharks (26-12-5), who improved to 7-1-1 in their last nine with a 2-1 shootout win at home over Calgary on Tuesday. Michal Handzus and Brent Burns scored in the tiebreaker, and Antti Niemi followed up a 27-save night by stopping both Flames attempts. Fourteen of San Jose's last 18 games have been decided by one goal, including the last three. The Sharks have gone 7-3-4 in those contests. "These one-goal games hopefully down the road will help us in the playoffs,'' said Torrey Mitchell, who scored Tuesday's game-tying goal midway through the third period. `"It seems like we can't find a game where we score five or six goals. Every game has been tight. Our team, we're resilient.'' Logan Couture - the Sharks' leader with 18 goals this season - scored twice the last time these teams met, a 4-0 San Jose road victory Dec. 2, 2010. Niemi made 28 saves to earn the shutout Patrick Marleau added a goal in that contest and has scored in each of the Sharks' five straight wins over Ottawa. He's also earned a point in 10 of the last 11 meetings between the clubs, with nine goals and five assists in that span. It is unclear who will start in net for either side, though Anderson is 2-6-0 with an unimpressive 3.42 goals-against average in his career versus the Sharks. Ottawa has lost two straight in San Jose, last winning there 4-1 on Oct. 18, 2003. Sharks forward Ryane Clowe will miss his second straight game while recovering from facial injuries suffered when he crashed hard into the boards Jan. 10 in Minnesota.
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