Alfie back for Ray Day

CHRIS STEVENSON -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 10:06 AM ET

GARDEN CITY, N.Y. -- There's never much good in a three-game losing streak -- anybody seen Mike Fisher? Antoine Vermette? -- but for the Senators, there's been one positive.

You haven't heard anybody bring up those comparisons to the 1976-77 Montreal Canadiens lately, have you?

"At least we got rid of people asking about -- to me it was such a ridiculous question -- are you going to (beat) the Canadiens losses, whatever it was? We've taken care of that," said Senators coach John Paddock yesterday.

For Paddock, the club's current slide and the early comparisons to that Canadiens club, when the Senators started the season 13-1 -- illustrate the wildly swinging perceptions of his club.

Reality -- depending on the day -- is somewhere in the middle. They aren't as bad as the recent streak -- which they will try and snap tonight against the New York Islanders -- and they were never good enough to warrant comparisons to one of the greatest teams of all-time. The Habs were 60-8-12 that year.

"Seriously," said Paddock. "That's the ridiculousness of the other side of it. How could anybody ask that when you're talking about a team that had guys who won eight and 10 Stanley Cups and the Hall of Fame and everything? This (losing streak) is the other side of it, another over-reaction."

Daniel Alfredsson will likely return tonight after a sore groin kept him out of Saturday's 4-3 loss to the Flyers.

"It felt pretty good (yesterday)," said Alfredsson, who skated on his own and then practised with his teammates.

Goalie Ray Emery, who took the loss after relieving Martin Gerber Saturday, will get his fifth start. Gerber's spotty play lately has opened the door for Emery to perhaps grab more playing time. Emery's lost his last three decisions, though he was in a tough spot Saturday, coming into a tied game, then giving up the winner on a tap-in off a 2-on-1.

"I definitely want to bounce back with a good game. I just worry about what's at hand. I don't worry if I won the last game or lost the last game or whatever," said Emery.

Rookie forward Nick Foligno was called up from Binghamton of the AHL yesterday.

Paddock said he likes the mindset of this team, as stated by Alfredsson, who characterized the latest struggles as just the ebb and flow of a season.

"They don't think the sky is falling like everybody else does," said Paddock.

Based on the record, you probably couldn't pick a better team than the Islanders for the Senators to try and break a slump. The Senators have won eight straight against the Islanders over the past two seasons and are 30-4-8-0 over the past 11 years.

But you won't catch the Senators taking anything for granted going into this one.

"We have to respect what they've done so far," said Emery. "We're definitely not overconfident."

OUT FOR TWO GAMES

The NHL has suspended Philadelphia Flyers forward Scott Hartnell for two games after his hit on Boston Bruins defenceman Andrew Alberts. Hartnell was given a major penalty for boarding and a game misconduct after the incident in the second period of Monday night's game.


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