OTTAWA -- The Senators were a little shorthanded at practice Thursday without captain Daniel Alfredsson and defenceman Chris Phillips.
But, both will be in the lineup Friday as the Senators face the Buffalo Sabres in a game that could go a long way in deciding whether Ottawa will be able to mount a late run for the No. 1 spot in the Northeast Division.
The Senators weren't helped by the Sabres comeback 3-2 shootout victory over the Montreal Canadiens Wednesday, but the club's goal is to get within sniffing distance. Ottawa currently trails the Sabres by seven points in the standings.
"We've still got two matches against Buffalo and we've played well against them," said Ottawa centre Mike Fisher. "We want to finish as high as possible, but we also want to make sure we're going into the playoffs playing well and finding our game."
The Senators have only eight games left on the schedule.
It would be shocking if goaltender Brian Elliott, who is coming off back-to-back shutouts, isn't in the net.
"You can't win without goaltending," said Ottawa coach Cory Clouston.