Sens aren't out to set records

DON BRENNAN, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 8:49 PM ET

OTTAWA — Interestingly, both began with a two-goal victory at Madison Square Garden.

And both included a pair of triumphs over the Boston Bruins.

But the eight-game winning streak compiled by the present-day Senators is slightly more impressive than the franchise record it ties, as the 2007-08 edition allowed the B’s a point in taking No. 7 in a shootout.

And 27 months later, these Senators are slamming the door on their victims.

Whereas the Dany Heatley-led record setters outscored opponents by a 31-14 margin during their undefeated run, the current crop has surrendered just eight goals - while potting 27 - in the eight games.

You’re not going to collect too many L’s giving up a goal a game.

“We’ve just come together as a team, really,” Mike Fisher said after Friday’s practice. “We may not have as much skill as we did on some teams, but I think the way we’ve been playing together, as a team ... our depth is unbelievable up front, and our goaltending has been great. That’s why we’ve been successful.”

The Senators can set a new standard on a national stage Saturday afternoon, when they host the Montreal Canadiens in the kickoff game of Hockey Day in Canada’s triple-header.

While the Senators are soaring, the Habs are in a sorry state.

When the same two teams met two weeks ago in Montreal, they were tied with 50 points. Now, Ottawa has nine more points than its closest rival.

Amid reports of dressing room blow up between goalie Carey Price and star defenceman Andrei Markov, the Habs have lost five of their last seven and have scored just one goal in dropping their last two contests.

“You have to respect any team, obviously,” said Senators goalie Brian Elliott, who has won six straight and has to be drawing consideration for his second straight nomination as the NHL’s First Star of the Week. “Anybody can beat anybody on any given night. We just have to respect them as a team and go out there and play our game, like we have been, and not play to theirs.”

At least part of the Habs game centres around the league’s No. 2 ranked power play.

To that, Ottawa has an answer.

The Senators are 23-for-23 on the penalty kill during the streak and have only allowed one power play goal in their last 41 shorthanded situations.

Elliott gets credit, as goalies often do, as the team’s best killer. But defencemen Chris Phillips, Anton Volchenkov, Matt Carkner and Filip Kuba have done a good job killing, as have forwards Jarkko Ruutu, Chris Kelly, Mike Fisher and Daniel Alfredsson.

Kelly says the key to success is that the Senators have cut down on their penalties.

“When you get overwhelmed by taking a bunch in a row on a given night, then they’re bound to score one,” he said. “We’ve only taken a few penalties a game. When you can do that, you limit their chances, and that makes our chances of killing them that much better.”

Getting better is Ottawa’s goal, not setting records.

Coach Cory Clouston continually says he’s only concerned with the moment, winning the game of the day and moving up a notch in the standings.

“No one would have even known it if you guys wouldn’t have brought it up,” he told reporters when asked about establishing a new mark for most consecutive victories. “I don’t think it has anything to do with anything. We’re approaching (the game) like we normally would.”

And striving to gel together at the right time.

“It’s not always easy to do, but we’ve got a lot of guys who care in here,” Fisher said. “There’s a lot of good people. (GM) Bryan (Murray) has done a good job of that. And we want to win. Our coaching staff has done a great job of getting us prepared and giving us everything we need to get ready. It’s just a matter of executing, which we’ve done lately. And we’ve got to make sure we continue to do.”


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