Senators more than capable of a repeat performance
The Ottawa Senators have registered four-straight seasons with 100 or more points in the standings and capped that run of excellence in 2006-07 with a trip to the Stanley Cup Final, where they suffered a disappointing four-games-to-one loss to Anaheim.
So, was the Game 5 loss to the dominant Ducks in early June the end of the line for this team, which has been one of the elite teams during the past decade?
Ottawa remains a loaded team carried offensively by “The Big Three” of Dany Heatley, Jason Spezza and captain Daniel Alfredsson. That trio compiled 279 points during the regular season last year.
Defensively, Wade Redden, Chris Phillips and Anton Volchenkov carry the load, providing the impetus to Ottawa’s stingy defense, which allowed just 222 goals last season. Only two teams in the East allowed fewer.
In goal, Ray Emery has usurped Martin Gerber as the No. 1 and is well on his way to stardom.
The pieces are obviously there for Ottawa to make another run at both the Eastern Conference crown and another appearance in the Stanley Cup Final.
When all is said and done, depth and determination will likely be the defining factors for the Senators this season.