Sens don't kneed this

DON BRENNAN, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 8:35 AM ET

Barring a miracle, Mike Fisher is about to miss the 194th game of what will be the 675 he's been eligible to suit up for through the first 8o seasons of his NHL career.

The good news for the Senators is that the latest damage shouldn't keep the centre out of many, if any, more than that.

Tests indicate the knee injury Fisher suffered in Monday's 2-1 shootout loss to the Rangers was not serious, but also that chances of him playing tomorrow against the Canadiens at Scotiabank Place fall into the "long shot" category.

Still, that his stay on the shelf will be short will be viewed as a positive for Fisher, who has had so much bad luck that even he is having trouble keeping up with the details.

Asked if the problem is with the same knee that kept him on the playoff sidelines last spring, Fisher could only shrug.

"I've had problems with both knees," he said. "Last year it was the other one, I believe."

Fisher headed for the exit signs moments after he became entangled with a Rangers defenceman.

"I finished the shift and I knew I did something, and my leg kind of locked up," he said. "I couldn't put any weight on it for a while. It was kind of a weird thing that I've never really experienced before."

Also expected to miss tomorrow's game is Chris Neil, who suffered a knee injury Saturday on Long Island.

"It feels better than when it first happened, but there's still some issues there," said Neil.

Minus Fisher and Neil, the Senators will surely turn to their AHL affiliate in Binghamton again.

With a hole at centre, 20-year-old rookie Zack Smith (nine goals, five assists, 26 penalty minutes in 16 games) could get the call.

They could instead opt for Cody Bass (1 G, 1 A, 37 PIMs in 16 GP) and leave Dean McAmmond in Fisher's spot.

Coach Craig Hartsburg liked the job McAmmond did when he was elevated from fourth line to second after Fisher left the Rangers game.

To replace Neil, Christoph Schubert would likely be activated from the "healthy scratch" list and used as a winger.

The Senators need to progress from the moral victory of earning a point with effort to an actual win.

Thanks to Florida's 4-3 shootout victory over Tampa last night, the Senators have sunk to the bottom of the Eastern Conference, tied with the Panthers at 15 points but in last by virtue of having one fewer win.

5 GAMES, 5 GOALS

The easiest explanation for the Senators having gone five games without winning is the fact they have only five goals in those games.

"Any scorer can tell you, when you score in bunches it just happens naturally," said captain Daniel Alfredsson, who on Monday potted just his fourth of the season and first in 11 games. "Right now it's not. I believe you make your own luck. You've got to work hard and believe in yourself, and you'll get it done."

Hartsburg reunited the Alfredsson-Jason Spezza-Dany Heatley line against the Rangers and indications are they will remain together.

"We think right now it's an opportunity for them to lead and spark us," said Hartsburg. "Not that they've tried to talk me into playing together, or some other reasons I've seen. We've never had that discussion, actually."

The Pizza Line was missing its usual sizzle on Broadway.

"At the end of the first period I had to go in and give them all crap, the three of them," said Hartsburg. "Because they didn't play the right way. As the game went on they started to be better."

Said Spezza: "We knew we didn't have a good period. We didn't have the puck enough. When we play together, we should be getting scoring chances and have the puck a lot. There's no ifs, ands or buts about it. (Hartsburg) just reminded us."


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