Senators milestones in sight during regular-season finale
|Ottawa Senators sniper Dany Heatley looks to become the first player in team history to score 50 goals in a season.|
by Todd Anderson
The Ottawa Senators could match several team records tonight when the regular season ends in New York against the Rangers.
With a victory, the 2002-03 record of 113 points in a season will be tied. It would also be the team's 52nd victory of the season, tying the all-time mark also set in 2002-03. With just 21 losses, the best marks from 1998-99, 2000-01 and 2002-03 could also be matched.
Other team records have already been established, including the most successful record at home (29-9-3), and overall goals scored (Ottawa looks to expand on 309 tonight).
Individually, Dany Heatley will be gunning to score one more goal to reach 50. No Senator has ever done so. His centreman, Jason Spezza, intends to make that happen.
"If we win the hockey game, he'll have a good chance at getting it. It's a little sidebar to the bigger story."
The greater concern in tonight's match, alluded to by Spezza, is using the final regular-season game as a tune-up for the playoffs.
"I'm real happy with this team and excited going into the playoffs," says captain Daniel Alfredsson. "There's no better feeling then stepping on the ice at playoff time."
Things to watch for tonight
With an Ottawa win over the Rangers, coupled by a Carolina Hurricanes loss to the Buffalo Sabres, the Senators will claim the Eastern Conference championship.
Heatley holds a one-point advantage (101) on Alfredsson (100) for the team's scoring lead.
In his 68th game, Spezza needs one point to reach 90.
Ray Emery could finish tied for third in wins by rookie goaltenders (23).
Rangers star Jaromir Jagr leads the NHL at +35. Wade Redden (+34), and Andrej Meszaros (+33) will try to catch up.
Antoine Vermette is one point out of the NHL lead with seven short-handed.
Zdeno Chara is third in the NHL with 221 hits, 13 off the lead.
Chris Neil is third in the NHL with 204 penalty minutes -- five back of second-place Washington Capital Brendan Witt and 53 back of Los Angeles King Sean Avery.
The Senators boast a league-high 13 players with 10 or more goals. Andrej Meszaros and Martin Havlat each have nine.