To say the Ottawa Senators
are exceeding expectations this season wouldn't be entirely true.
After a 74-point campaign in 2010-11 that triggered a rebuilding process, players came into 2011-12 with a unique set of expectations.
"It's one of those things. I don’t think we had any expectations," said defenseman Matt Carkner
, who has been with the Senators since 2008. "Obviously it's great right now. We know what we're capable of now, so it's kind of expected to perform the way we are now. It's a big bonus that we're putting ourselves in a good position.
"I think everyone was a little harsh on us to judge us so early."
The standings prove Carkner is correct about that.
The Senators are 23-15-6, good for 52 points and fifth place in the Eastern Conference heading into a showdown with the League-leading New York Rangers
on Thursday night at Madison Square Garden. Ottawa has won six of its last seven, including a 5-1 victory in Pittsburgh on Tuesday that started a 10-game stretch in which nine of the games will be played on the road.