Taking it all in stride

CHRIS STEVENSON -- Ottawa Sun

, Last Updated: 10:39 AM ET

Senators 6, Islanders 0

As hot as he's been, not everything is perfect in Daniel Alfredsson's world.

His skates could be a little better.

Other than that, it's all good for the Senators captain, who along with his talented teammates, is flourishing under coach Bryan Murray -- the man responsible for throwing the door open for his offensive players.

Alfredsson had his team-leading 13th and 14th goals last night (and an assist) in the Senators' 6-0 win over the Islanders and moved into a tie for the NHL scoring lead (26 points) with Carolina's Eric Staal.

That brings the Senators' total goals scored in their last three games to 20, including 10 in Buffalo on Wednesday night.

Alfredsson pointed to the Senators' record in Buffalo as an indication of the change in playing philosophy with the new regime compared to the Jacques Martin era.

"Just check our results in Buffalo the last six years prior to this coach," said Alfredsson last night (We did: The Senators won only 3-of-15 games in that span).

"Buffalo is a team that really likes to pinch their defence. They want to keep the puck in our end. We never could leave the zone before the puck did and we played right into their hands. It was always a struggle there. That was just Jacques' way of coaching. Now we take off and go forward. With this personnel we have now, we're doing our best with it."

As far as the skates go, help is on the way.

"I'm still not happy," he said. "I'm right between pairs (of skates). The old ones are too soft and the new ones are two stiff. I'm not complaining," he added quickly.

"I'm still wearing the old ones and the new ones in practice. The new ones should be ready for the next game."

Look out.

Hear and There:

If there was any doubt about Anton Volchenkov's rib situation, the Senators defenceman cleared it up pretty early. The A-Train took out New York's Robert Nilsson, then Chris Campoli, then Nilsson again with thundering bodychecks. Campoli had to go to the bench after Volchenkov crashed into him at the Ottawa line ... Ottawa's Chris Neil had a good night last night. In addition to his sixth goal of the season, he handed out a couple of thundering hits and drew a couple of penalties. The Senators scored on the second one ... Senators G Ray Emery spent three hours getting the outline of his newest tattoo done on his right arm Friday. He has another three, three-hour sessions to go before it's finished. The theme of his latest "tat": Anger Is A Gift ... Taking the game in from the press box last night was Mark Gandler, Alexei Yashin's agent. He was in town to help Yashin celebrate his 32nd birthday yesterday ... Alfredsson led Senators forwards in ice time last night with 21 minutes and 49 seconds. With the cut down on hooking and holding, Alfredsson said 21 minutes now is like 17 in the "old" NHL.

Revelations:

This bit of good news, bad news from Senators play-by-play man Dean Brown: 32 Islanders draft picks have made it to the NHL. That's the good news. The bad news for Islanders fans is they are all playing for other NHL teams ... With the score 5-0 and the Senators on the power play in the third, Murray left the fourth line on the ice. They couldn't get the sixth goal to give fans their free slice of pizza ... But Bryan Smolinski did a couple of minutes later ... You could make a pretty fair blue line out of ex-Islanders around the league: Zdeno Chara, Wade Redden, Bryan McCabe, Eric Brewer, Darius Kasparaitis and Dick Tarnstrom are just a few ... Some poolies must have seen their lives pass before their eyes in the second when Spezza went hard into the boards when he got tangled up with Isles defenceman Alexei Zhitnik and was slow getting up. He tweaked the ankle that's been bothering him lately.

Lemme Say This About That:

Canada's veterans were well represented in a pre-game ceremony involving Guy Fortier (4th Princess Louise Dragoon Guards, WW II), Betty Brown (surgical nurse, WW II), W. Barry Helman (Royal Canadian Artillery, Korean War) and Ray Paquette (former peacekeeper in Vietnam and Germany with NATO). They received a nice hand from the crowd. We can't thank the veterans often enough for the freedoms they won for us ... The topic was big trades yesterday (like Marian Hossa for Heatley). Murray was the GM in Florida when he traded D Ed Jovanovksi to Vancouver for Pavel Bure. Not a bad deal at the time, huh? "Yeah," said Murray, not missing a beat, "but Ed's still playing and Pavel is now the general manager in Russia (for the Olympic team)." ... New York's Jason Blake on the Alfredsson-Spezza-Heatley line: "They're probably the best line in the NHL, by far." He's probably right, by far.

Parting Shots:

Senators G Dominik Hasek uses what you might call an unconventional style. Unconventional is one way to describe it. "Guy falling off a log," is certainly another.

SOME THINGS WORTH NOTING ...

TO THE POINT: Jason Spezza's assist on Dany Heatley's first-period goal was the 100th point of his young NHL career.

LIFE OF BRIAN: Senators tough guy Brian McGrattan and New York's Eric Godard had a good tussle in the second period. McGrattan pounded out a decision.

MEAL TICKETS: The Senators had a record 19,776 tickets sold for last night's game. That broke the old record of 19,661 from Opening Night.

ISLE BE DAMNED: Ottawa fans, of course, booed Isles C Alexei Yashin every time he went near the puck. The only time he got cheered was when he took a hooking penalty in the second, missed a close-in chance later in that period and was penalized in the third.

chris.stevenson@ott.sunpub.com


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