|Ottawa Senators rookie forward Brian McGrattan was one of the players who participated in the optional skate today. Photo: OSHC|
by Todd Anderson
With Tuesday's 5-2 win over the Pittsburgh Penguins at Scotiabank Place, the Senators reached 100 points for the fifth time in team history.
Forward Bryan Smolinski said the team should be proud to reach the century mark.
"To get 100 points and keep moving forward is awesome."
The Senators have now run off three consecutive 100-point seasons, and five in their past seven campaigns. The best mark for points in team history came during the 2002-03 season when the Senators accumulated 113.
On Wednesday, the Senators were given the option of skating, or working out in the conditioning room.
"The time off at this time of year is important for sure," defenceman Wade Redden said. "There's been lots of games and guys are banged up."
Added defenceman Zdeno Chara, "It's only to our advantage to be able to regroup."
Meanwhile, centre Jason Spezza said after a few days of rest, he plans to skate tomorrow at practice and on Friday when the Senators visit the Buffalo Sabres.
"I feel a lot better today," he said after receiving treatment on his hip pointer injury.
With just 14 games remaining in the regular season, coach Bryan Murray looks back at the Senators' slump just prior to the Winter Olympic break as a blessing. While reaching 100 points would have come earlier with more wins during that period, he wouldn't trade in the experience gained during the stretch.
"To go through a cycle where the team isn't very good, I feel you have to do that. It prepares you for pressure time. It allows you to understand how to come back and be good again. We have a number of younger players, and for them to go through that, it's worthwhile. That's why the regular season is so important."
Forward Peter Schaefer enjoyed the four-game series with the Penguins this season. The left-winger scored three goals and seven points as the Senators swept the Eastern Conference opponent 4-0.
Schaefer has set career highs in goals (18), assists (29) and points (47) this season.