Senators Still in the Hunt

The season of streaks continues. After starting out the season one and five, Ottawa proceeded to win six in a row. Then they were winless in four and were about to head out on a six game road trip. Losing the first game in Buffalo had many wondering if the free fall to the bottom of the conference was under way. But a funny thing happened that caught many off guard.

They started winning. Again.

Trailing 1-0 in Toronto after the first, in a game where they put four shots on the Leafs net through twenty, Ottawa slowly found it’s legs. 40 minutes later the Sens had come out on top, winning 5-2.

Heading west Ottawa then went on to defeat Calgary and Edmonton. Ottawa has never had much success in the province of Alberta, as it had been eight years since they gained four full points in the province.

Two days off in Vancouver, where the rookies took the vets out for dinner, had the Senators primed to win their fourth in a row. They didn’t win, but they did get a point from an overtime loss. Going on the road and picking up seven of a possible ten points is a success

Especially when you consider this team was supposed to be a bottom feeder.

Nikita Filatov strikes again

Last week, noise was made when recently demoted Filatov, his agent and CSKA Moscow let it be known there is an opportunity for the Russian winger in the KHL. He wants to be in the NHL, not the AHL.

This all boils down to process of elimination. Filatov is not a fourth liner, and Ottawa’s third line has been their most consistent, so there is no room for him there. He isn’t a centre, so really as a top six forward, he has only a few spots to play in. Daniel Alfredsson and Milan Michalek aren’t going anywhere, and Colin Greening is a perfect compliment on the top line. Which really only leaves one position. Nick Foligno has had a strong start, and is a veteran. So when you look at it, there aren’t any spots for the Russian winger.

Now I understand the lure of returning to the motherland to earn millions. Filatov wants to be an NHL’er and can see an opportunity slipping away if he is playing in the AHL during a contract year. But he is 21, and still developing. Injuries will happen, and it is in his best interest to be ready and in game shape when his chance comes.

This sounds more like an agent trying to help out his client by stirring the pot. And it may have worked, as Filatov had two goals and an assist in his next game with Binghamton. As well GM Bryan Murray has asked him to be patient and work hard ( in other words, produce points ) and they will revisit the issue within the next few weeks.

Injuries and Extra Players

Matt Carkner and Peter Regin both made the trip west even though they are still sidelined. Carkner is close to returning and might be sent to the AHL for a conditioning stint in the next week. Regin opted to rehab his oft injured shoulder and skip surgery. He is on schedule and should be available in the next three weeks. Chris Neil, who injured his lower body ( ankle ) could be back in the next week or so.

Which leads to healthy scratches. Good chance David Rundblad will spend some time with the baby Sens, while Stephane Da Costa ( who will be on the outside looking in when Regin comes back ) might also see some time in the AHL. Both could use the ice time and confidence. And Binghamton could also use an influx of talent.

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