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NHL Preview from The Sports Network
Tuesday, February 4th (All times Eastern)
Ottawa Senators (24-21-11) at St. Louis Blues (37-12-5), 8 p.m.
(SportsNetwork.com) - The Ottawa Senators continue a tough stretch before the Olympic break as they visit the St. Louis Blues on Tuesday, one night after visiting the leaders of the Eastern Conference.
The Senators lost for the fourth time in six games with Monday's 2-1 overtime setback to the Pittsburgh Penguins, though they were able to earn a point following a disappointing 6-3 loss in Toronto on Saturday.
Craig Anderson made a season-high 46 saves, but was unable to stop James Neal's shot at the 1:55 mark of overtime.
Stephane Da Costa scored for the Senators, who had cruised to a 5-0 win on home ice against the Pens back on Dec. 23 and now sit three points behind Detroit for eighth place in the Eastern Conference.
"We knew we had to come out hard after the second half of our game in Toronto, which was not up to our liking," said Anderson, who surpassed his previous season high of 35 saves last done on Jan. 30. "We needed to come back and have a good game, and we knew they would want to come back hard at us too after we beat them in our building."
Things don't get easier tonight for the Senators as they visit a Blues club that is third overall in the Western Conference with 79 points, three back of the Central Division-leading Chicago Blackhawks.
Ottawa will visit the NHL basement-residing Buffalo Sabres on Thursday, but then visit the Atlantic Division-leading Boston Bruins on Saturday.
After a heavy workload last night, Robin Lehner is likely to give Anderson a deserved break tonight. Lehner has faced the Blues just once before, making 30 saves in a 3-2 overtime victory at home on Dec. 16.
The Senators snapped a two-game slide to the Blues and have won six of the last eight meetings. They will visit St. Louis for the first time since a 5-2 loss on Nov. 19, 2010.
Defenseman Cody Ceci scored his first NHL goal in the matchup with the Blues and it was the game-winner in overtime.
Chris Stewart scored twice for the Blues and Brian Elliott made 29 saves.
Derek Roy added two assists for St. Louis and the Ottawa native has 14 goals and 39 points in 45 career games versus the Sens.
Elliott made 28 saves as the Blues won the opener of a four-game homestand by besting the Nashville Predators 4-3 in a shootout on Saturday. Vladimir Tarasenko had a game-tying goal in the third period before notching the winner in the tiebreaker.
"We needed this game after losing the last game," said Tarasenko, referring to a 3-1 setback in Carolina the previous night. He also had an assist versus the Predators.
Jaden Schwartz and David Backers also lit the lamp for the Blues, who won for the fourth time in its last five games and moved to 20-5-2 at home this season.
Jaroslav Halak will start tonight for St. Louis, which is 9-0-0 at home versus the Eastern Conference this season. Halak is 3-5-1 with a 2.76 goals against average in his career versus the Senators.
Blues coach Ken Hitchcock is one win shy of 110 with the Blues, which would tie Scotty Bowman for fourth on the franchise's all-time list.
02/04 10:58:02 ET
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