Our 5 startling Senators stats

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Ottawa Senators Stephane Da Costa (L) and Nick Foligno celebrate after Da Costa scored...

@TEXT: Ottawa Senators Stephane Da Costa (L) and Nick Foligno celebrate after Da Costa scored against the Boston Bruins in the first period of their NHL hockey game in Boston, Massachusetts on Nov. 1, 2011. (REUTERS/Brian Snyder)

Bruce Garrioch, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 9:51 PM ET

The Senators are proving many experts wrong.

A bit more than a month into a season in which they were picked by many to be the worst team in the NHL, the Senators just saw a six-game winning streak come to an end Tuesday with 5-3 loss to the Boston Bruins.

While the Edmonton Oilers are considered the biggest surprise in the NHL, the Senators aren’t far behind.

So, what’s happened and can this continue so Ottawa can secure a playoff spot? There’s still a lot of hockey left to be played.

But, with a short two-day break, here’s five startling statistics that stick out for the Senators:

The power play is ranked second in the NHL, sitting behind only the Colorado Avalanche. The Senators struggled at times with the man-advantage last season, placing 15th in the NHL under coach Cory Clouston. This season, it’s been the key to their success, thanks in large part to defenceman Sergei Gonchar. Signed to help the club on special teams, he finished with only seven goals and 20 assists in 67 games lasst season. Tthrough 13 games he has nine assists. He’s never been a big goal scorer, but has usually been a 50-plus point guy. Getting Alex Kovalev away from Gonchar might have been one of the best moves made all summer.

Goalie Craig Anderson has the worst goals-against (3.80) and save-percentage (.880) in the league. Signed to a four-year deal after finishing with an 11-5-1 record after being acquired from the Avalanche last season, Anderson is supposed to be the Senators’ saviour, but they’ve taken a lot of pressure off him this season by scoring goals in bunches. He has come with big stops. Anderson scoffed at the numbers Wednesday. “When you get a couple of games when you get blown out, it kind of skews the results,” said Anderson. “Statistics show a little bit, but they don’t tell the whole story. You really gotta break down the game to realize what’s going on. Sometimes stats lie.”

The Senators are ranked No. 5 in goals — with 42 in 13 games. Nobody saw that coming. The Senators were the lowest-scoring team in the league last season with only 190 goals. They are on pace to score 246 goals if they can keep scoring an average of three goals per game in the 69 games remaining on the schedule. Centre Jason Spezza (6-9-15) and winger Milan Michalek (8-5-13), who were pointless against the Bruins, have been one of the league’s most dynamic duos. Winger Colin Greening (4-4-8) was a runner-up for rookie of the month. If the Senators can keep it up, they’ll have pretty impressive stats at the end.

Defenceman Erik Karlsson is on fire.He is tied with Tampa’s Marc-Andre Bergeron for the scoring lead among defencemen with 13 points. Karlsson is No. 1 in the league among blueliners with 12 assists. There is no question he’s playing with a lot of confidence right now. While TSN used a stat during Tuesday’s broadcast that Karlsson has been on for 15 even-strength goals-against, he leads the league in average ice-time with 25:13 per-game. Pittsburgh’s Paul Martin is second at 25:02. The 21-year-old Karlsson has been a difference maker.

The Senators have been able to win with one of the worst penalty-killing units in the league. They’ve allowed more power-play goals (17 in 13 games) than they’ve scored. It should also be pointed out that they’ve been the most penalized team in the league with an average of more than 17 minutes per game. The Senators have to clean up their act in this area if they’re going to make the playoffs. Not sure if they’re predictable when it comes to killing penalties, but they certainly can’t let this trend continue. “There’s so much video now. Maybe if they took away video, we’d have a better PK,” said Craig Anderson jokingly.


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