Centre nursing bruised shoulder

CHRIS STEVENSON -- Ottawa Sun

, Last Updated: 7:47 AM ET

Senators centre Bryan Smolinski's condition was updated yesterday: He has a bruised right shoulder and is listed as day-to-day.

His status for tomorrow night's game in Carolina against the Hurricanes will be assessed today.

Smolinski's status is better than what Senators coach Bryan Murray expected. Smolinski was hurt in the first period of the Senators 5-4 win over the Devils on Saturday night.

"At the beginning, (the trainer) told me he's hurt pretty good, but I think it had calmed down a lot by the end of the game," said Murray.

After a slow start (one goal in his first 12 games), Smolinski had scored three times in five games.

"Hopefully he'll be all right for the next game. He's been playing well for us," said winger Chris Neil.

FOR NEIL, SATURDAY'S ALL RIGHT FOR SCORING: As far as Neil -- who's been known to drop 'em now and then -- is concerned, Saturday night is all right for scoring.

Neil has now scored seven of his eight goals this season on Saturday nights.

He slipped in his fourth power-play goal Saturday night.

"I didn't know I was scoring every Saturday night. I haven't really thought about that," said Neil, whose career single-season best is 10 goals.

"I just try to give us momentum, get in there and forecheck hard. The puck has been bouncing my way this year so far. Whenever you can put them in, it's a bonus.

"I've been getting a good opportunity on the power play. It's been great."

FISHER, VARADA MOVE UP: When Smolinski left the game, Murray moved W Mike Fisher into Smolinski's spot and elevated Vaclav Varada from the fourth line (where Varada hasn't been happy) to Fisher's place. Varada wound up playing nine minutes and 39 seconds, his second highest ice time of the year, and made a nice play to set up Fisher's second goal of the game.

"Varada played fine," said Murray. "He got a chance. He worked real hard. He took a couple of penalties, but he made a great play to Fish. He got himself involved in the game. That's why we have players like Varada there. When they got a chance, they've got to step in and show they can play and contribute."

"He works hard and you know what you're going to get, a guy who will dig in the corners and get pucks out," said Fisher. "He made a real nice pass to me on the last goal."

Leaders: Through the first 18 games of the season, here are Ottawa's leaders in various categories: Goals: Daniel Alfredsson, 18; Assists: Jason Spezza, 25; Points: Alfredsson, 34; Shots: Dany Heatley, 80; Power-play goals: Alfredsson, 6; Short-handed goals: Alfredsson, 3; Penalty minutes: Brian McGrattan, 53.


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