After finally earning their first win of November, the Ottawa Senators believe their confidence has been restored.
Building on that victory, however, could be tough.
The Senators go for their first win in Calgary in nearly nine years Tuesday night against a Flames team looking to win its fourth straight in the series.
Ottawa (8-9-1) opened November with five straight losses before defeating Toronto 5-2 on Saturday. Nick Foligno scored twice while Sergei Gonchar, Zack Smith and Milan Michalek had one apiece for the Senators, who hadn't won since beating the Maple Leafs on Oct. 30.
"To get a win, I mean it just validates all of the effort you put in and lifts the confidence level of the team," captain Daniel Alfredsson said.
Craig Anderson finished with 31 saves in an important bounce-back performance after being pulled just over two minutes into a 5-1 loss to Buffalo on Friday.
"We just needed to get out of our little slump that we were in," said Anderson, who was in net for each game of the skid and posted a 3.47 goals-against average. "It's a good start, something to build off of. You've just got to move forward and continue with the positive things."
Continuing a six-game road trip with a stop in Calgary might make that difficult.
The Senators have lost five straight at the Saddledome since a 1-0 win Jan. 9, 2003. They've lost three in a row to the Flames (7-8-1) overall since a 3-2 win Feb. 9, 2010, their only victory in the last nine meetings.
Alfredsson hasn't scored against Calgary since a 4-all tie on Nov. 22, 2001, and his 10-game goal drought in the series is his second longest versus any opponent. The franchise's all-time leader in goals with 393 has gone 12 games without scoring against New Jersey.
The play of Miikka Kiprusoff has been one of the biggest reasons for the struggles of Alfredsson and the Senators. Kiprusoff has posted a 1.58 GAA in winning five career home starts versus Ottawa, and he's 7-1-0 with a 1.74 GAA and two shutouts against it with Calgary.
Kiprusoff made his fourth straight start Saturday, stopping 36 shots in a 4-3 win over Colorado. He has gone 3-2-0 with a 2.02 GAA in his last five.
Jarome Iginla, Lee Stempniak, Paul Byron and Curtis Glencross scored as Calgary matched its season high in goals after totaling one while losing its previous two games. Iginla, tied with Glencross and Rene Bourque for the team lead with five goals, has three goals and four assists in his last seven games versus Ottawa.
Although Calgary avoided a third straight loss Saturday, coach Brent Sutter wasn't thrilled with the effort down the stretch. The Flames failed to put the Avalanche away after building a 4-0 second-period lead, needing to withstand a furious rally in the third when they were outshot 16-4.
"It certainly got interesting in the third, and there's no reason for it," Sutter said. "We were up 4-1 and we allowed them to have the momentum. When you have a team down you have to kick them when they're down."
Calgary hopes to have better luck late against a Senators team that has allowed 24 third-period goals, among the most in the league.
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