Sens love playing 'Leaflets'

DON BRENNAN, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 11:42 AM ET

The Senators finally found their way back to the winner’s circle Saturday night.

But then, you have to consider the opposition.

“Any time we play the Leaflets, we love it,” Senators owner Eugene Melnyk said earlier in the day, before catching his own misstep. 

“I gave that one to you,” he added, glancing over his shoulder at Cheapseats.

I’ll take it, thanks.

A few things to like about the most recent Battle of Ontario, from an Ottawa viewpoint: 

- The ability of Brian Elliott to step in and provide another solid job in goal.

- The chemistry between Mike Fisher and Alex Kovalev.

- Erik Karlsson is flying.

- Jesse Winchester’s confidence is growing.

Melnyk is as optimistic as ever. He believes the Senators can be this season’s Montreal Canadiens. What?

“Look where Montreal was a year ago,” he said. “I remember exactly. I was skiing in the Laurentians and reading the Gazette, and everybody was just absolutely killing them. And where did they end up? Look how far they went in the playoffs. Don’t underestimate this team, or the heart of this team. Or the experience. I think, most importantly, their will to win. These are tough, tough guys.”

Their goaltending has been better of late, for sure. But can either Pascal Leclaire or Elliott be the next Jaroslav Halak?

We shall see.

As far as shutouts go, that had to be one of the easiest of Elliott’s life. He stopped 29 shots, but you have to consider the opposition.

It was the Leaflets.

STARTS AND STOPS

Senators fans broke into a rendition of Na, Na Hey, Hey Goodbye with less than two minutes to go in their 3-0 victory over Toronto. Not to dampen the spirit (for at least they finally showed a little) but that song is soooo yesteryear ... For all the consternation about Alex Kovalev’s game, he now has seven goals, tied for second (with Mike Fisher) on the team, behind Daniel Alfredsson’s eight. Kovalev’s three points moved him into a tie for second on the team’s scoring list, with 14. At this rate, he’ll get at least 50 in this, his last season as a Senator ... So much for the theory that once a guy gets one goal, it’ll snowball. After ending a 15-game slump with his first of the year, Peter Regin has now gone eight games without another. “When you don’t score, you kind of squeeze the stick a little too hard maybe sometimes,” he said. “Hopefully, when I get the next one, it will kind of loosen me up. I thought that about the first one and that didn’t happen. Hopefully, the next one will turn it around.”

THINGS I THINK I THINK

All it took was for Matt Carkner and Colton Orr to stare at each other and dangle the gloves off their fingertips in the third minute of the first period to exceed the excitement level of the last home game ... Jason Spezza had three “missed shots” in the first period. Two of them were heavy slappers that must have left a dent in the end boards. One of them was from the slot, with nobody close to him ... They could use No. 81 (Phil Kessel), but the Senators would also be a better team if they could steal Toronto’s No. 18 (Mike Brown). BETWEEN PERIODS

Chris Kelly replied with a “you’re a pretty observant guy” when it was mentioned to him that the Senators appeared more disappointed than after any other loss after Friday’s 2-1 setback in Pittsburgh. Naturally, I agreed. “I thought we played really well, and that’s disheartening when you play like that and don’t come away with the win. Hopefully we can build off that and move forward.” ... The popular theory is that Milan Michalek has lost a step since his knee surgery last summer. Michalek isn’t buying it. Are you as fast you were, Milan? “I think so,” he said. “I feel good on the ice. I think I’m very fast.” ... Carkner was solid in his return to the lineup after a one-game hiatus. He saw 13:33 of ice time against the Leafs. “I had a good string of games going there,” he said of sitting out only his second game since making it to the NHL 14 months ago. “I had a few mistakes going the last two games I knew wasn’t typical of me. I went over video and stuff with the coaches, and I just took the chance to watch a game, then get back to playing my game.”

THINGS THAT MAKE YOU GO HMMM

In this, the season of grand accomplishments, Sportsnet’s Ian “Lenny” Mendes has shared 990-something thoughts on Twitter. “I’m taking inspiration from Alex Kovalev,” said Mendes (@ian_mendes). “I’m planning to smash my BlackBerry to pieces when I record my 1,000th tweet.” ... Different lines after different nicknames for different reasons. Ryan Shannon called his (with Jesse Winchester and Jarkko Ruutu the “Green Slime Line” because they wear green jerseys in practice ... Nothing against Jim Hughson, but an Ottawa-Toronto game isn’t quite the same without Bob Cole over our left shoulder calling it ... Mike Fisher skated about 390 feet in scoring his two goals. He still has the upper-body injury, but there’s nothing wrong with his legs.


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