Sens cash in at Bank

CHRIS STEVENSON -- Ottawa Sun

, Last Updated: 9:31 AM ET

The Senators are now masters, once again, of their own domain.

"We knew this homestand was going to be really important and before this we had not been good at home," captain Daniel Alfredsson said. "It's like everybody felt the urgency and even more so when (Jason) Spezza and (Mike) Fisher went down."

Heading into tomorrow night's meeting with Alexander Ovechkin and the Washington Capitals at Scotiabank Place, the Senators are now two games over the break-even mark at home (12-10-1) for the first time this season.

The Senators started a stretch that will see them play 13-of-17 games at home with losses against Boston and Tampa Bay back on Dec. 19 and 21.

That dropped them to 6-9 at home.

Since then, they have won 6-of-8 at The Bank (6-1-1).

Including tomorrow night's contest, the Senators will play three of their four remaining games before the all-star break at home.

SPECIAL SPECIAL TEAMS

A big reason for the Senators' improved record at home has been the play of the special teams.

The power play is 9-for-33 during the last eight games (27.3% compared to their overall standing of 18.5%) while the penalty killing has given up just three goals on 29 attempts (89.7%, compared to their season efficiency of 83.2%).

With Saturday's 8-3 win over Montreal under their belts, the Senators are now just one point behind the fourth-place Canadiens in the Eastern Conference.

Realistically speaking, fourth place in the East is as good as it can get for the Senators this season.

They are 11 points back of Buffalo (with the Sabres holding two games in hand) for first in the Northeast and catching the Sabres will be a tall order.

With the second and third spots in the East seedings given to the other division leaders, getting and hanging onto fourth spot and home-ice advantage in the first round is the Senators' reality now.

EYE ON STANDINGS

"We've been watching the standings every day," said winger Dany Heatley. "We're down to our last 30-plus games and every two points means something. Against Boston we had the big comeback, then getting the win in New York ... they're all important points now.

"We realize we can't take a period or even a shift off and that's a big reason why we're playing so well."


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