Goal Sen-se needed

BRUCE GARRIOCH

, Last Updated: 8:30 AM ET

The Dynamic Duo is back together.

Winless in 10 straight on the road (0-8-2) and starting a three-game swing through Western Canada tonight against the Calgary Flames at the Saddledome, Ottawa Senators coach Craig Hartsburg reunited Jason Spezza and Dany Heatley during practice yesterday.

While captain Daniel Alfredsson is skating with winger Jarrko Ruutu and centre Mike Fisher, Chris Kelly skated on the left side with Heatley and Spezza. The club is having a difficult time scoring goals, and victories are paramount to getting back in the playoff race.

Though Hartsburg had tried to play Heatley, Spezza and Alfredsson on separate lines, that approach didn't work in getting the club to score.

Heatley and Spezza were together for part of the club's 6-4 loss in Philadelphia Tuesday, and the Senators mounted a third-period comeback before giving the game away.

"They played together in the last half of that game. They were OK, and they created some things," Hartsburg said. "Defensively is the area (of concern) -- that's why we put Kelly there.

"(Heatley) has been our best player for the last two or three games, and so has Nick Foligno. (Spezza) is starting to feel a little more comfortable and a little better."

The Senators are trying not to look too far ahead as they hit the road.

The club is well aware it needs victories to get back into the playoff race in the NHL's Eastern Conference or it could be a long season.

"We know the big picture. The approach we have to take is: What's the best way of getting us back in the picture?" Alfredsson said. "That's by taking it one game at a time. We're aware of our situation. We obviously need a big road trip."

Alfredsson said being on the road doesn't mean much with the club sitting at No. 12 in the East and eight points back of the eighth-place Buffalo Sabres.

"The only thing that can help us is good efforts," Alfredsson said.

"We can't have close games where we almost pull it off. We have to find ways to win games. It's a big trip. Everybody is frustrated because we're not playing as well as we should, and we are better.

"I don't know if it's because we're down on ourselves. It's been a vicious circle for us."

BLACK AND BLUELINE

D Brian Lee met the Senators yesterday when they arrived in Calgary.

Lee was called up from the club's AHL affiliate in Binghamton because the Senators aren't sure about the status of D Anton Volchenkov, who suffered a upper body injury when he slammed into the boards only 48 seconds into the loss to the Flyers.

But, Hartsburg told reporters Volchenkov, who wasn't on the ice, could play.

"He's a possibility. He didn't skate, but he could skate (today)," Hartsburg said. "It's not as serious as we thought. Obviously, it didn't look too good, but he's made some good progress."

Even if Volchenkov is available, the club might dress eight blueliners because there's always the option to use D Christoph Schubert up front.

"We certainly missed (Volchenkov) in Philadelphia," Hartsburg said. "His grit and the way he competes and battles is something we need on the back end."

IN THE CREASE

Before leaving Ottawa, Hartsburg hadn't decided if G Alex Auld or G Martin Gerber will make the start. Auld has allowed 19 goals in his last four starts.


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