Avalanche-Senators Preview

The Ottawa Senators are heading into their home opener with a little momentum and get to face a team off to a much worse start than its stellar one last season.

The Colorado Avalanche, though, haven't lost to the Senators in nearly nine years heading into the teams' matchup Thursday night.

Ottawa finished its season-opening, three-game trip with a pair of wins, capped by Craig Anderson making 30 saves in a 1-0 victory over Florida on Monday. Clarke MacArthur scored on the power play in the second period off an assist from Kyle Turris, who has a point in all three games.

"All in all, it was a good, solid effort by our group and something that we can really build on," coach Paul MacLean said. "We would like to kind of bottle this one, at least parts of it. ... We're looking forward to going home."

The Senators (2-1-0) were one of the league's worst teams at home last season with an 18-17-6 record while giving up 3.24 goals per game - only Edmonton was worse.

Colorado has won its last four visits to Ottawa by a combined 16-6 score, including a 3-1 victory March 16 in these clubs' last meeting. That was the Avalanche's seventh straight win in the series, a streak which dates to Dec. 12, 2005.

Colorado, though, heads into Ottawa having been outscored 12-4 during a 1-2-1 start. The club didn't suffer its third loss last season until Nov. 12, having won 12 of its first 13 games under coach Patrick Roy en route to winning the Central Division.

The Avalanche, however, opened a four-game road trip with a 2-1 victory over Boston on Monday and just missed another win the next night against Toronto. They led midway through the third period before falling 3-2 in overtime.

"First back-to-back is always tough for any team, and it showed in the third period," Roy said.

Veteran forward Jarome Iginla recorded his first points with Colorado, assisting on goals from Ryan O'Reilly and Matt Duchene.

The Avalanche, though, fell to 0 for 13 on the power play after finishing tied for fifth in the league last season with a 19.8 percent conversion rate.

"Our power play needs to simplify things, put more pucks at the net, and allow Jarome to do a good job in front of the net and pick up rebounds," Roy said.

Roy's club has allowed one goal in its opponents' 16 power plays while Ottawa is 7 for 9 on the penalty kill. Colorado has gone 7 for 11 on the power play in its last four games against the Senators, who are kicking off a four-game homestand.

Ottawa goaltender Craig Anderson is 0-2-1 in three career games against his former club with a 6.35 goals-against average, easily his worst versus any opponent.

Colorado captain Gabriel Landeskog has six points in three lifetime meetings with the Senators, and Iginla has three goals and an assist in his last three games against them.

Ottawa captain Erik Karlsson has one goal and four assists in four career meetings with the Avalanche, and MacArthur has the same stats in his last four matchups.


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