Senators gaining Wade

CHRIS STEVENSON -- Ottawa Sun

, Last Updated: 8:58 AM ET

MONTREAL -- They are coming back, one at a time, starting with defenceman Wade Redden tonight.

The Senators' list of missing players looks like it will be reduced by one against Boston with the return of the star blueliner, back after missing the last seven games to be with his ailing mother in Lloydminster, Sask.

There were other improvements yesterday on the injury front. Winger Martin Havlat has been cleared to play Saturday after visiting with his doctor, and defenceman Zdeno Chara tested his injured hand and there's an outside chance he could play tonight as well.

Goaltender Dominik Hasek participated in the entire morning skate yesterday and is inching towards his return.

But first back appears to be Redden.

"Hopefully he'll feel good (physically) and will be in the lineup," said Senators coach Bryan Murray before last night's meeting with Montreal. "He means a lot to our team. He's a skill guy, an experienced guy, a guy who everyone has great confidence in. When he steps in, our lineup is automatically better on the back end."

Redden has been working out while at home. Given the grave situation involving his mother's health, it is not out of the question Redden might have to return to Lloydminster.

"As of right now, he's planning on playing the rest of the games this week, then we'll look and see where everything is," said Murray.

Havlat was hoping to get permission to play tonight, but has to undergo one more test. Murray didn't speak to Havlat, but head athletic therapist Gerry Townend did.

"Gerry talked to him and said he sounded upset," said Murray. "He wanted to play (tonight). It was a little bit of an issue for him, so he could play Thursday, possibly, and Saturday for sure."

With Ottawa's losing streak now at a season-high four, those guys can't get back in the lineup fast enough.

Hear and There:

Senators W Chris Neil knows only too well what it's like to deal with a family crisis. He lost his mom, Bonnie, in a car accident earlier this season. "He's been going through a hard time lately," said Neil after last night's 3-2 loss to the Habs. "It'll be good (for him) to get back in the groove. For me, that's the way it was." ... The biggest mystery in the Senators dressing room these days is what happened to Chara's flip flops, which have been missing for about a week. Flip flops are important to hockey players as it's the footwear of choice around the dressing room. The guy is 6-foot-9, so you can imagine the size of those things. It appeared for a moment yesterday the mystery was solved. "I took them, 'Z'," said D-partner Chris Phillips, fresh off the ice after working on his injured knee. "Yeah, I took them for water skis." The search continues.

The Buzz:

Murray is one of the great referee baiters and though he says he's calmed down, he was in classic form in the second period when Senators W Peter Schaefer was pushed off-side and there was no call. Murray had a point, but referee Don Koharski wanted no part of it. The two went nose-to-nose at the Ottawa bench and Koharski capped things off with what looked like either a "zip it" motion or throat slash. RDS' replay sure made it look like a throat slash ... Canadiens coach/GM Bob Gainey can't make a wrong move these days. He made W Richard Zednik a healthy scratch for three games, brought him back last night and had him score the winning goal in the third ... There's almost no question Hasek will play again this season, it's just a matter of when. He was non-commital when it came to a regular-season start yesterday. "I'm thinking about it, but I can't say it's possible," he said. "I definitely feel better and I can say I definitely feel a difference every day."

Let Me Say This About That:

Talk here is that buzzsaw Steve Begin of the Habs will be out at least for the rest of the regular season with a knee injury. He's a heart-and-soul-type guy for the Habs, giving them energy shifts, killing penalties and getting the crowd going ... After last night's game, a first-round matchup between these clubs -- or later -- would be a nice prospect. A first-round meeting is the way it stacks up this morning ... Where the heck did Canadiens F Chris Higgins get that scoring touch? With his goal last night, he has 10 in his last 10 games and 16 since the Olympic break ... Is there a better guy in the league at keeping the puck in at the point than Ottawa's Brian Pothier? The disc almost never gets by him ... You won't see a nicer defensive play than the one Senators captain Daniel Alfredsson made on Montreal D Sheldon Souray, who had a short-handed breakaway in the first period. Alfredsson took it away from him with surgical precision.

Napkin Notes:

Taking in last night's game was former Senator and Hab Joe Juneau. He looks great with a nice tan and a beard. Most striking is the fact he's 17 lbs. under his playing weight after spending a month at his winter camp deep in the Quebec woods, and time in the high Arctic winter camping ... Maybe it was the rush after the win talking, but Habs G David Aebischer had this to say: "The way we played in the second and third (periods), we can take anybody." Yeah, as long as "anybody" is missing their top goaltender, top three defencemen and a top-six forward ... Senators rookie Andrej Meszaros just missed cracking the 30-minute mark last night, coming in at 29:11.


Photos