|Peter Regin is in a happier place as the Senators head out on a four-game road trip. The Danish centre ended a 31-game goal-less drought by hitting the scoresheet on Wednesday night against the Detroit Red Wings (Photo by Andre Ringuette/NHLI via Getty Images).
Funny what a simple deflection can do to change a player's mindset.
When Peter Regin
tipped home an Alex Kovalev shot against the Detroit Red Wings on Wednesday night, it ended a 31-game goal-less drought for the Ottawa Senators centre. He added two assists during what head coach Cory Clouston called "his best game of the year."
While Regin won't quite go that far, it's clear the offensive outburst did wonders for the psyche of the 24-year-old from Herning, Denmark.
"I thought I had a stretch at the beginning of the year where I played well (for) 25-30 games or so," he said following Senators practice earlier today at Scotiabank Place. "I don't know if that was my best game, but I'm back and I feel kind of the way I did earlier. I feel good and, hopefully, I can keep it rolling."
That would certainly sit well with the offensively-challenged Senators, who will also welcome No. 1 centre Jason Spezza
back to the lineup Saturday night against the Islanders in Uniondale, N.Y. (7 p.m., CBC, Team 1200). It's the opener of a four-game road trip that also includes a trio of western Canadian stops in Vancouver (Monday), Calgary (Wednesday) and Edmonton (Feb. 12).
Regin entered this season coming off a playoff series against the Pittsburgh Penguins last spring during which he was arguably the Senators' best player. He scored three goals in that six-game series but has produced only two in 48 games this season, which prompted Clouston to make Regin a healthy scratch for a pair of games toward the end of January.
However, linemate Alex Kovalev has sensed a difference in Regin's play since then.
"Peter is a great player and he showed it in the playoffs last year," he said. "I’m sure a lot of people expected him to be a completely different player this year (than he has been). For him, it’s the same thing as for anyone on the team that turns away from whatever he’s done … nothing works for him.
"It was perfect timing for him to have a little break ... clear your mind from what you’ve (been doing) and what’s not working for you. Peter came back with a clear mind and he’s playing a completely different game. Hopefully, he can keep it that way."
As they hit the road for eight days, the Senators find themselves stuck in a 1-10-4 skid and are winless in their last eight games. But they're heartened by the fact their last victory, back on Jan. 13, came at Nassau Coliseum against the Islanders.
"It feels good going into a place where we won the last time," said Regin. "So that gives us some confidence. I believe the way we have played, especially the last game, if we can continue that ... I'm sure we'll win (again) soon and, hopefully, it's tomorrow."
But Clouston cautioned the Senators (17-27-8) can't be looking at the Islanders (16-28-7), who reside in the Eastern Conference basement, as an easy mark on what should be a gruelling road trip.
"We’ve just got to make sure we give them our best," he said. "We’ve got to prepare for this club like we would with any other team. We can’t go in there and think it’s going to be an easy game. We’re in no position to be thinking that. We can disrespect any opponent by not giving them our best from here on in."
Around the boards
Defenceman Matt Carkner (lower body) didn't practise today but will accompany the team on the road trip. His status is listed as day-to-day ... Rookie goaltender Robin Lehner was between the pipes for the 6-4 victory over the Islanders on Jan. 13. It was his first National Hockey League career start ... Ottawa is 2-0-0 against the Isles this season, including a 4-1 victory in Ottawa on Nov. 4. The teams close out their season series Feb. 15 at Scotiabank Place, which also happens to be the Senators' next home date.