Bright future for Senators

CHRIS STEVENSON, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 9:02 AM ET

Senators owner Eugene Melnyk will meet with the media this morning to discuss the 2008-09 season and "the outlook for 2009-10."

The outlook is considerably brighter than it was a couple of months ago. The Senators won a franchise-record ninth straight on home ice last night, 3-2 over the Eastern Conference-leading Bruins, improving their record to 36-34-10 and 19-10-3 under rookie coach Cory Clouston.

Melnyk will be joined by GM Bryan Murray for this morning's discussion, says the invite, so there's one question answered.

Despite employing four coaches over the last two seasons and seeing the Senators miss the playoffs for the first time since 1997, Murray apparently will be back next season. He has found himself a keeper in Clouston, who has kept the Senators motivated down the stretch.

It would seem this morning would be an opportune time to announce Clouston returning as coach.

When asked if there could be any news on that front today, Clouston replied: "I'm not sure. We'll see. I haven't met (Melnyk) yet. I look forward to talking to him."

Clouston has a fan in Bruins defenceman Zdeno Chara (a.k.a. The One Who Got Away around here).

"Wow, they are aggressive," said Chara, whose goal with 8.8 seconds left in the second pulled the Bruins to within a goal, as close as they would get. "Every time I looked up, nobody was open. They have their 'D' up in the neutral zone and they're right on you."

In wins over the Flyers Saturday and Canadiens Monday, the Senators came from behind in the third period. Last night, they made a one-goal lead stand up.

The Senators were, however, once again physical, outhitting the Bruins 29-18.

Christoph Schubert, who scored the Senators first goal, and Chris Neil led the way with six hits apiece.

The Senators also dodged a season sweep, finishing with a 1-4-1 record against the B's.

"(The Bruins) really thrive on turnovers. The last game we committed a couple and they wound up in our net. We kept it simple," said Senators goaltender Alex Auld, who won his third straight.

GO OUT ON A HIGH

"We would like to end things on a good note. This was a good measuring stick against one of the best teams in the league."

Chara's shot from the point drifted through a crowd in front and caught the high corner to Auld's right. Bruins forward Mark Recchi was tangling with Schubert in front and waved at the puck, which necessitated a video review.

The Senators opened a 3-1 lead when winger Dany Heatley, the hero of Monday's win with a pair of third-period goals, scored at 13:57 on the power play. He let go a one-timer from the right-wing circle that snuck between the pads of Manny Fernandez.

The Senators owned a 2-0 lead after the first period on goals by Schubert -- which capped a nice setup by rookie Jesse Winchester -- and a short-handed beauty by Mike Fisher, who outraced Chara to a loose puck and beat Fernandez high to the glove side.

Boston's Phil Kessel scored three minutes into the second after confusion between Volchenkov and Chris Kelly, who started the mess with a poor bank pass of the end boards which Volchenkov had trouble handling. The Bruins wound up with the puck and Kessel banged home a short shot.

The Senators play their final home game of the season tomorrow against the Devils.


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