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Winning fuels Senators' drive

Wednesday, 11.7.2007 / 4:39 PM ET / Features
By Rob Brodie  -
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Winning fuels Senators\' drive
They are on a march of historic proportions, but the Ottawa Senators have no intention of falling victim to the hype.

Rather, they’ll continue to build on the fastest start the National Hockey League has ever witnessed the old-fashioned way – by working hard and working smart.

Ray Emery will make his third start of the season Thursday night, when the Senators face the Washington Capitals at Scotiabank Place.
“We’re more concerned about playing the way we’re playing and trying to win hockey games,” winger Dany Heatley said Wednesday when asked about the Senators’ 13-1-0 start (an NHL record) and eight-game winning streak (a team mark). “That’s obviously a nice stat to have, but if we lose the next two or three games, I think we’re going to be disappointed.

“We just have to keep doing what we’ve been doing. We played a pretty solid game (Tuesday) night (a 5-1 beating of the Toronto Maple Leafs), and tomorrow we’ve got another test.”

That would be from the Washington Capitals and Alex Ovechkin, who arrive at Scotiabank Place on Thursday night (7:30 p.m., A-Channel, Team 1200). The Caps will face a team that has shown such machine-like efficiency at times that it is already drawing comparisons to powerhouses such as the 1976-77 Montreal Canadiens, who went 60-8-12 and set an NHL record for fewest losses in a season.

Not that the Senators are willing to put themselves in such elite company just yet.

“(The streak) is going to end someday,” said captain Daniel Alfredsson. “But we just want to go out there and work hard everyday, and give ourselves a chance to win.

“You can’t worry about the result or the streak too much, or get caught up in it too much. It’s more important to approach each game individually, and that’s what we’ve done.”

Alfredsson admitted the Senators “weren’t really as sharp as we could be” at the season’s outset, “and we won anyways. But lately, we’ve been getting better and better, and we’re reminded by video about the small things.”

“I think that’s the thing. You don’t want to beat yourself. We have a lot of good habits and the challenge now, when things are going well, is to maintain it. Then life will be a lot easier.”

And now it’s Ray Emery’s turn to help the cause again. After Wednesday’s practice at Scotiabank Place, head coach John Paddock announced Emery would get his third start of the season against the Capitals.

“It’s good to get back,” said Emery. “It’s great that the team’s been playing well, and I just want to get involved again.”

Emery hasn’t played in nearly a week, and only twice in the last 12 days. But he sees the situation for what it is at the moment.

“I understand if you’re winning, why mess with a good thing, right?” he said. “But I’m getting a chance to play (Thursday), and I’m happy for it.

“It’s not even been a week since I last played. That’s not too long a layoff.”

Meanwhile, the layoff for injured Senators centre Jason Spezza will continue for a fifth game. His groin injury is still on the mend, and Paddock said Spezza has been ruled out for Thursday’s game.

Might he make it back for Saturday’s game against the Montreal Canadiens?

“(Spezza) needs to be involved in practice (Thursday), and he needs to be skated hard (on Thursday),” said Paddock. “Then there could be a chance that would happen.”




1 y - MTL 82 50 22 10 214 184 110
2 x - TBL 82 50 24 8 259 206 108
3 x - DET 82 43 25 14 231 211 100
4 x - OTT 82 43 26 13 232 208 99
5 BOS 82 41 27 14 209 201 96
6 FLA 82 38 29 15 198 213 91
7 TOR 82 30 44 8 206 257 68
8 BUF 82 23 51 8 153 269 54


E. Karlsson 82 21 45 7 66
M. Stone 80 26 38 21 64
K. Turris 82 24 40 5 64
B. Ryan 78 18 36 5 54
M. Hoffman 79 27 21 16 48
M. Zibanejad 80 20 26 0 46
C. MacArthur 62 16 20 -6 36
M. Michalek 66 13 21 3 34
D. Legwand 80 9 18 1 27
A. Chiasson 76 11 15 -5 26
C. Anderson 14 13 8 .923 2.49
R. Lehner 9 12 3 .905 3.02