Senators Wild about Minnesota trip

Ottawa Senators coach Cory Clouston has fond memories of his fourth career NHL coaching victory, a come-from-behind 5-3 win over the Minnesota Wild on Valentine’s Day, 2008.

Senators Wild about Minnesota trip
Kyle Turris #7 of the Ottawa Senators scores during the shootout against the Pittsburgh Penguins during the game at Consol Energy Center on April 13, 2014 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The Senators defeated the Penguins 3-2 in a shootout. (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)

Ottawa Senators coach Cory Clouston has fond memories of his fourth career NHL coaching victory, a come-from-behind 5-3 win over the Minnesota Wild on Valentine’s Day, 2008.

As the Senators head back to “The Land of 10,000 Lakes” for the first time since that win, Clouston remains optimistic that the Senators can climb back into contention in the Eastern Conference standings.

“We had a good game two years ago,” Clouston said Wednesday morning, before the team’s afternoon flight to Minneapolis. “We were down 3-0 and came back, (scoring) a couple of shorthanded goals. A fun game to be involved in and hopefully we can duplicate that.”

One way to make life a lot easier would be for the Senators to get their power play on track. It currently ranks a decent 11th in the NHL at 18.1 per cent, but the problem has been the limited number of chances that are coming with the man advantage.

In the past 10 games, the Senators have enjoyed only 22 manpower advantages, converting of five of them. In five of those 10 games, including Monday’s 4-3 overtime loss to the Atlanta Thrashers, the Senators have had only one power play chance in the entire game.

“We just need to get more opportunities,” Clouston said when asked if he was happy with the performance of the power play.

The coach felt the Senators deserved more than one manpower advantage against Atlanta, considering that they controlled the puck for a majority of the game, much of it spent in the Thrashers zone.

While Clouston won’t officially announce his starting goaltender until Thursday, it’s expected that Pascal Leclaire will draw the start. Leclaire’s last game was a 3-2 victory over the New Jersey Devils on Friday and Brian Elliott has had consecutive shaky performances.

Every player was on the ice for practice Wednesday, meaning that the Senators should have a full, healthy lineup against the Wild.

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