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AT THE MORNING SKATE
The Oilers began their three-game eastern Canada road trip with morning skate at Scotiabank Place in the Ottawa suburbs Monday.
Forward Ales Hemsky participated in the skate but will not dress tonight vs. the Senators.
"He's a no-go," head coach Tom Renney stated. "We'll skate him again tomorrow and get a good feel for him. I think he's probably beyond day-to-day now; I think he's probably within the next game, he'll play."
GERBER GETS ANOTHER GAME
On the topic of goaltending, all three Oilers goalies -- Nikolai Khabibulin, Devan Dubnyk & Martin Gerber -- were on the ice. Gerber had his own net, signalling that he would get the start tonight vs. the Senators.
"The timing certainly lines up nicely here," Renney explained. "I did want to give Devan a game against San Jose, a pretty formidable opponent, and he needs the practice against those types of teams too. So this rolled out nicely where we could put Marty in against Ottawa.
"He's just playing really well and deserves the chance to play."
Gerber played three seasons with the Senators from 2006-2009 and has fond memories of playing in Canada's capital city.
"It was fun, it's a hockey town. The first year was really great when we went in the playoffs and the whole area went crazy and that was awesome to see. They have always been supportive, so I enjoyed my time here for sure," he said.
EBERLE RETURNS TO OTTAWA
Another player who has fond memories of Scotiabank Place is rookie Jordan Eberle. The arena was the site of Eberle's epic clutch goals during the 2009 World Junior Hockey Champions that helped Canada secure a gold medal.
"It was a special time," he recalled. "For that tournament a couple of years ago, any time you have a winning team there's always fond memories behind it."
The rookie is focused on the current challenge, however.
"To be honest I didn't even think about coming back here until someone had mentioned it, so for me it's just business and trying to get a win tonight."
SECURING TWO POINTS VS. SENS
Wins vs. the Senators haven't been easy to come by. The last time the Oilers beat the Sens was March 14, 2004, while the last time the club won a game at Scotiabank Place was two years previous.
"They're highly skilled," defenceman Tom Gilbert said after the skate. "They've got guys that, if you turn the puck over, they're going to make plays and they're going to put pucks in the net.
"For us, we've got to limit the amount of turnovers that we have, we've got to get the puck moving up the ice, and use our speed the best that we can. Because when we're skating out there, it's a whole different game."
Despite the team's record, coach Renney is looking forward to this eastern road trip.
"It's all real good for our guys to experience this," he said. "It's a good acid test for our team on a number of different fronts, whether it's just playing the game or the fan support obviously in these buildings, the media attention naturally.
"The bottom line is that we have to play a game plan that will allow us to have success and each and every guy has to pay attention to it."
-- Jen Sharpe, edmontonoilers.com
Last 10: Edmonton 2-6-2; Ottawa 4-6-0.
Season Series: This is the first of two meetings between the teams. They'll meet again at Rexall Place on Feb. 12, 2011.
Big Story: Monday marks the second of a four-game homestand for the Senators, who bounced back from a 2-1 loss at Pittsburgh with a 3-0 win against the Toronto Maple Leafs on Saturday night at Scotiabank Place. The Sens finally got contributions from the line of Mike Fisher-Alex Kovalev-Milan Michalek, as the trio accounted for all of the offense.
"It's nice to see those guys score goals," Sens forward Jason Spezza said. "They've had a lot of chances lately and it's nice to see them get rewarded."
Oilers: Edmonton nearly rallied from a 4-1 deficit on Saturday night, but fell short in a 4-3 loss to the San Jose Sharks at Rexall Place. Sam Gagner, Shawn Horcoff and Jim Vandermeer scored for the Oilers, while Devan Dubnyk made 21 saves.
"The effort was there, I think," Horcoff said. "But we need wins right now. I think against an experienced team like they are -- 10 minutes they took it to us and we weren't able to hold them off."
Senators: Just a few hours before his team earned a hard-fought win against the Leafs, team owner Eugene Melnyk gave his group of a vote of confidence. Ottawa had only one victory in its previous five games before blanking Toronto. Brian Elliott made 29 saves in the win.
"Everybody would be a lot happier if we had a different record and kind of reversed things," Melnyk told the Sens' web site. "But (Friday) was a really, really important game to see what we can do as a team. Anytime you go out there and take 40-plus shots on a goaltender and you're playing an elite team and just coming up that short … it's kind of disheartening. But on the other hand, you look at it and say it could have gone either way. There's so many chances.
"It just continues to prove what I've been talking about, and that is it's a game of inches and it's brutal at times."
Who's Hot: Oilers rookie Taylor Hall has two goals and two assists in his last five games. … Elliott's shutout on Saturday was his second of the season. It lowered his goals-against average to 2.94 and raised his save percentage to .911.
Injury Report: Oilers winger Ales Hemsky and goalie Nikolai Khabibulin are both nursing groin injuries and are day-to-day. … Ottawa is boasting a healthy lineup.
Stat Pack: Edmonton rookie Magnus Paajarvi has gone 11 straight games without a point. … Sens goalie Pascal Leclaire has stopped 90 of the last 96 shots he's faced.
Puck Drop: "I think our guys put 150 per cent (effort) in, every one of them. Now we have a healthy team and I think you're going to see a lot of good things coming out of the team on the ice ... Don't underestimate this team or the heart of this team or the experience or I think, most importantly, their will to win. These are tough guys and they're not going to put up with giving up games like this anymore. Trust me on that." -- Ottawa Senators owner Eugene Melnyk
-- Brian Compton - NHL.com Staff Writer