Sens juggles continue

CHRIS STEVENSON

, Last Updated: 8:41 AM ET

The Senators' regular season will end three weeks from today with 10 games between now and the finish line.

Seventy-two games into the season and it doesn't seem like the Senators are any closer to having set lines.

Get over it.

With most of the Senators forwards having more than their share of ups and downs, coach Bryan Murray's lines will continue to jiggle more than Jessica Simpson in a pizza commercial as on any given night he tries to find combos that work.

Murray could start tonight's game against the Flyers at Scotiabank Place with the lines the way they finished Thursday night against the Islanders.

Or maybe not.

Part way through that game, Murray flopped right wingers Mike Comrie and Chris Neil, elevating Neil to the third line with Chris Kelly and Antoine Vermette.

Comrie wound up with Dean McAmmond and Christoph Schubert.

Murray made the change because he wanted Neil to match up against Islanders forward Viktor Kozlov.

The change paid off with Neil and McAmmond both getting goals and Comrie potting a couple of assists as the Senators' depth guys carried the day.

The right wingers will be the guys moving around, for the most part.

"That's the flexibility I'm asking the guys to tolerate right now," said Murray. "It depends on what the other coach wants to do ... (the right wingers) might not play with the same two guys all the time."

What is emerging at this point is Peter Schaefer and Mike Fisher and whoever is on the right side with them (captain Daniel Alfredsson lately) will go up against the other team's top line when Murray can get that matchup.

Thursday night it was against the Alexei Yashin-Jason Blake-Ryan Smyth line.

"Because of his skating and strength, I really think (Fisher) can play against most players in the league," said Murray. "There are a lot of reasons to make him into that kind of player. The good thing about that being the 'checking' line is they have the puck a lot. They're not always chasing."

Schaefer's game has come along from the struggles he had earlier this season. He has been a lot more effective lately along the boards -- which his bread and butter -- with the result the Fisher line has been getting a lot of time in the other's team zone.

GERBER GETS THE CALL: Murray said Martin Gerber will get the start in net against the Flyers tonight. The Senators are playing three games in four nights (they are in Pittsburgh to face the Penguins tomorrow night), so this is a good spot to give starter Ray Emery a break. Gerber has delivered the team at least a point in nine straight games (7-0-2).

HEAR AND THERE: Islanders coach Ted Nolan wasn't particularly impressed with his team or Neil on his wraparound goal early in the third period Thursday night. Neil grabbed the puck, swept down the right wing, went around the Islanders net and tucked the puck in on Islanders G Mike Dunham. "That was a tough one. It was a 1-on-3," said Nolan. "It was the old wraparound. It looked like Bobby Orr wrapping around and it was Chris Neil. It was just one of those things." ... Emery wasn't happy after the Islanders scored to make it 5-2 with four seconds left in the game. Isles F Randy Robitaille was in the crease and Emery made his point to the officials. "I never like to get scored against," said Emery. "I saw a guy sliding behind me. I didn't know at the time he was pushed there. I'm glad we won, but I don't like being scored against." "That's what Ray is," said Murray. "He's a feisty guy and you have to like that." ... Flyers D Derian Hatcher scored his first goal in 125 games Thursday night against Atlanta. Flyers coach John Stevens has been using the big D-man in front of the net on the power play and he tipped a shot by Stefan Ruzicka. It was Hatcher's first goal since Dec. 3, 2005. The Senators better get a man on him tonight.


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