Funny what a few wins can do for a team. And solid goaltending.
A week and a half ago, the Ottawa Senators had two wins and were looking up at most of the teams in the Eastern conference. But four wins in five games has this group of Senators feeling like the are on the right path.
“We are starting to play better, to hit our stride,” said Sens forward Chris Kelly. “We are playing a solid 60 minutes of hockey as opposed to 40 or 20 at times.”
The difference over the last five games has been a consistent effort at both ends of the ice. The Sens are getting production from their top players, which had been lacking early in the season. When Daniel Alfredsson has a hat trick in one game, then Alex Kovalev gets four points in two games and Jason Spezza can come back from an injury and put up four points in one game, you are going to win some games.
“It’s nice to get on the score sheet,” Spezza said after the Sens’ 4-1 win over the New York Islanders. ”We have generated a lot chances the last few games and are now ( as a team ) just finishing them off.”
But it isn’t just putting pucks in the net that is leading this team. Brian Elliot has back stopped the Sens to all six of their wins in 2010. He has taken over for an injured Pascal Leclaire and has proven he can be counted on when needed.
A perfect example of this happened during the Islanders game where the Senators were ahead 3-1 midway through the third. The Islanders had two breakaways shorthanded which would have changed the complexion of the game. Elliot made the saves to keep the lead at two. That doesn’t go unnoticed by teammates.
“It was huge,” said forward Peter Regin. “He was there for us and it was huge for our momentum.”
“If he lets in one of those we are scrambling,” Spezza added. “But he stands tall … he has been real good for us lately.”
Nobody is suggesting a parade route is in order. With 70 games left in the regular season, there is still plenty of time for a team to fail or succeed. But if the Sens can continue their recent success then they can continue to make some noise in the East.