Walking down the Isles

BRUCE GARRIOCH -- Ottawa Sun

, Last Updated: 1:02 PM ET

UNIONDALE, N.Y. -- As the Senators neared the quarter-pole of the NHL season, they continued their historical ride. And what a ride it's been.

While yesterday's 6-2 victory over the New York Islanders at the Nassau County Coliseum will go in the books as just another two points in the 82-game season, the Senators are off to one of the best starts in league history.

The Senators, led by a three-point effort from winger Vaclav Varada, won their 17th game of the season. They're now tied for the second-most wins after 20 games in NHL history.

"I don't know if it really means anything because we've got a long way to go," said Senators captain Daniel Alfredsson. "But I think it shows we've been consistent. Other than the power play, the Islanders really didn't have that many great scoring chances."

There is an old saying that adversity doesn't build character, it reveals it. Cue the Senators.

With Wade Redden (knee) and Martin Havlat (hamstring) nursing injuries and Chris Neil dealing with the death of his mother, the Sens needed everybody to step up.

And they did in a big way. Dany Heatley, Patrick Eaves, Peter Schaefer, Jason Spezza, Denis Hamel and Varada had the goals, three of them on the power play.

"I thought to a man this team showed a lot of character," said Smolinski. "We've had our share of adversity in the last four or five days and I really thought we showed we were able to deal with it.

"We had different guys chip in with goals and when they got chances Dominik (Hasek) was there to make (31) saves. We've just got to keep this going."

The key was Varada, who hasn't been happy with his role on the fourth line, but stepped up when given the chance to play on the second power-play unit.

"I feel good. I felt like I contributed," said Varada. "Scoring is not something I usually do, but it felt good to be a part of it."

Then there was big Zdeno Chara, who played a bit less than 30 minutes and pestered Isles captain Alexei Yashin.

"I want to be able to compete as much as I can," said Chara.

That's fine with coach Bryan Murray.

"I talked with (assistant coach) John Paddock before the game and I told him to get (Chara) out there as much as he could," said Murray. "I'm sure he's the type of guy who can play 35 or 40 minutes and it won't bother him one bit."

The loss didn't sit well with the Isles, who have been outscored 12-2 in two games against the Senators this season.

Yashin wasn't happy with a high -sticking call in the second that resulted in Schaefer's goal.

"We had a chance, but that was a bad penalty call on me," said Yashin. "I just think (the officials) are getting a lot of pressure to call everything right now," said Yashin.

THE 20-GAME MARK

1929-30 *Boston Bruins 18-2-0 36 Pts

1979-80 Philadelphia Flyers 16-1-3 35 Pts

1925-26 Ottawa Senators 17-2-1 35 Pts

2005-06 Ottawa Senators 17-3-0 34 Pts

* Only the 1929-30 Boston Bruins went on to win the Stanley Cup.

Source: Elias Sports Bureau

bruce.garrioch@ott.sunpub.com 


Videos

Photos