Schaefer creaming foes

DON BRENNAN

, Last Updated: 12:58 PM ET

No one exemplifies the famine or feast start the Senators have had this season better than Peter Schaefer.

He was sans goal or assist through his first 10 games then -- in the dozen heading into last night's tilt with Tampa -- had become one of the team's top point producers with 15 of them.

TURNAROUND

Why the dramatic turnaround?

All of the "confidence" babble aside, the reason that makes most sense to us came from Schaefer himself yesterday morning.

"I have switched," he said of his pre-game pasta topping, "from tomato to cream."

Sure enough, mere hours after covering his order and a half of whole wheat penne with Gorgonzola cheese sauce, Schaefer had chipped in with an assist in Ottawa's four-unanswered goal first period outburst against the Lightning.

Score another victory for the chef at Fratellis. "We change that stuff up all the time," Schaefer said of the ongoing search he and teamates have for superstitions that work. "And we rotate our seat (arrangement) around the (meal table) once in a while, too."

The pre-game feast is important to the Senators. They've already had enough in-game famine for one season.

STARTS AND STOPS: The fancy, stick-between-the-legs goal scored by Antoine Vermette in the first period last night should be on somebody's Plays Of The Day highlight package this morning. You can be sure it won't be the last time he's noted for a spectacular move ... Best save of the first period came just past the one minute mark, when Anton Volchenkov went down to block Ruslan Fedotenko's offering from the slot. Ironic that "A-Train" was given a minor penalty in the second for using two sticks (Ray Emery's was the other) at the same time. The way he contributes largely with his shot blocking and body rattling, he doesn't need any sticks at all ...

BETWEEN PERIODS: Jason Spezza was among the eight or nine who opted to take part in yesterday's optional morning skate, a game day activity Bryan Murray has just started making a player's perrogative. Even though only three other NHLers had won more faceoffs than his 279 (against just 242 losses, for a 53.6% rate) at the time, Spezza spent a few moments working on the art of draw taking. Assistant coach John Paddock was dropping the puck for him against ... nobody. Spezza won every one of them.


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