Senators 6, Sabres 1
Twenty-eight years after John Travolta starred in the original, the Senators are producing an NHL version of Saturday Night Fever.
When playing on hockey's night in Canada, they are very, very hot.
Through five Saturday's this season, Ottawa has now outscored its opposition by a whopping 30-2 count. Or four converted touchdowns, if you prefer.
Pretty incredible, huh?
It started with a 5-0 win over the Buffalo Sabres on Oct. 8. Then a 5-1 victory over the Boston Bruins Oct. 15. Then an 8-0 pasting of the Toronto Maple Leafs Oct. 29, followed by a 6-0 triumph over the New York Islanders.
The latest Saturday throttling came last night in a 6-1 win over a Sabres team that is becoming the Senators' favourite punching bag.
"That's an amazing stat," said Wade Redden, who collected his 300th career point assisting on a Daniel Alfredsson goal in the second period.
Offering his theory as to why the Senators are particularly overwhelming on Saturdays, he wondered if it had something to do with the fact that they're looking forward to enjoying their Sundays off.
"I think the key has been that the guys are hungry all the time," he said of the team's brilliant start. "It starts with the top line ... those guys keep their foot on the gas no matter what the score is. That kind of filters through, and now everybody has that mentality. We just keep going at the other team."
Especially Saturdays, when they're beating the opposition to a pulp.
Starts and Stops:
And get this -- the Senators are now the first team to get off to a 10-0 start against division rivals since the 1976-77 Montreal Canadiens club that lost just eight games all season. Those Habs played against weaker foes, too, as the second- and third-place teams (Los Angeles, Pittsburgh) finished just above the .500 mark. "Playing well in your division is critical if you're going to make headway in the standings," said coach Bryan Murray. Now if only they could shake past those pesky Habs of 2005-06 ... Fans called for "Pizza Pizza" 60 seconds into the third and Brian Pothier delivered five minutes later -- or quick enough to make sure today's slice is free ... It took 15 goals, but the Senators Music Men came up with a theme song for Dany Heatley. Playing Glenn Frey's The Heat Is On is a nice way to mark the occasion when he scores ... Ray Emery's mother Charlene and brother Nick were in the crowd (along with his father Paul) watching their favourite goalie for the first time live in an NHL game. Emery responded with a strong effort, stopping 24 shots to improve his record to 4-0. "It's a shame we gave one up on him," Murray said of Derek Roy's goal, which came 5:39 from the final buzzer. "He looks like a real good NHL goaltender, the way he played (last night)."
A "Name That Line" contest being run by the boring broadsheet aimed at coming up with a clever handle for the Heatley-Jason Spezza-Alfredsson line is failing miserably. That is, unless you like any of the three final choices --The Dash Line, The Cash Line, The Dazzle Line. We sure don't. And neither does Spezza. "I don't want a lame name," Spezza said with a laugh after yesterday's morning skate. "I reserve the right to kibosh The Dazzle Line." He also wasn't so big on a media creation -- The Tricky Dicky Do Line -- borrowed from a catch phraze belonging to broadcaster Gord Wilson. "He's tricky," Gordie said, pointing to Spezza's stall, "(Alfredsson) doesn't dick around, and (Heatley) ... he just do's." However, Wilson decided the Tricky Dicky Do was more fitting of Martin Havlat moves than the nickname for a line ... Somehow a good morning conversation with Emery that started with his fondness of cockroach eating for $500 (Emery: "I'd crush on Fear Factor") was followed by him being ask which goalie he'd most like to fight. "I don't fight goalies," said Emery, who has been known to enjoy beating on forwards and the occasional defenceman. Nonetheless, it was suggested he'd gain some instant popularity by dropping the mittens with Ed Belfour someday, to which Chris Neil chipped in with an opinion. "He's got bad breath," Neil said of the Maple Leafs 'tender. Asked if he had ever bothered to share that info with Belfour himself, Neil answered "Yes. I told him, 'Get some Tic Tacs buddy, you reek.' " Clearly, Neil's doing his job if he's been that close to tell ... At the risk of giving up some of our originality, may we offer up a nickname for the Senators second unit of Mike Fisher-Bryan Smolinski-Neil: The Donut Line. Y'know, for its lack of substance in the middle.
No Andrew Peters in the Sabres' lineup meant there was nobody for Brian McGrattan to pound last night ... Quick gear shift -- the Renegades have severed ties with media relations whiz Arash Madani. His duties will be shared between a local public relations firm, an as yet to be hired member of John Jenkins' football operations staff and perhaps a village idiot or two ... Rookie Andrej Meszaros left the game after taking a shot in the ankle. His status will be further evaluated today ... Chris Phillips got a free lesson on what a player can and cannot do with his stick from the referee as fans listened to Stompin' Tom during a third-period break.
SOME THINGS WORTH NOTING...
KELLY HERO: Rookie centre Chris Kelly had a strong second period, killing penalties, delivering a couple of hits and hustling back to break up a 2-on-1 Sabres' rush. The hardest check of the period, however, came from Sabres winger Taylor Pyatt, who levelled Jason Spezza as the Ottawa centre crossed the blue line.
CHEAP SHOT: Sabres defenceman Dmitri Kalinin stuck his right knee out to send Peter Schaefer for a spill in the second period. Chris Phillips skated over to have words with Kalinin, who was penalized on the play. After laying on the ice for a few moments, Schaefer got to his feet and wound up finishing the game.
NUMBERS: Brian Pothier was a plus-4, as was Dany Heatley ... Zdeno Chara played 26:21 ... Chris Neil led the Senators with seven shots on goal.