Mark Stone,

Have you noticed? Ottawa’s starting to win some games


The Ottawa Senators overcame a barrage of injuries to make the playoffs in 2013. But for a variety of reasons, the wins have been harder to come by this season. Until lately.

On Saturday, the Sens won their fourth straight (and fifth in six) with a 4-3 overtime victory in Montreal. With another two points, they moved to within two points of a wild-card spot in the Eastern Conference, putting further pressure on a pair of struggling teams, Toronto and Detroit.

“The goal is to be in the playoffs at the end of the season,” said goalie Craig Anderson, per Sens Extra.

“That’s been our goal since Day 1. Obviously we didn’t play the first half the way we wanted to, but things right now are starting to go in our favor. We’re working hard at it.

“We’re getting better every day. If you worry about what you can control, and that’s how we work and how we play, the end result, if we keep winning games, usually you end up in the playoffs because you’re winning more games than you’re losing.”

So good last season, Anderson’s numbers have fallen dramatically in 2013-14, from a save percentage of .941 to .904. But he’s been better lately, with five straight victories to show for it.

And according to coach Paul MacLean, “We’re not spending as much time in our own zone, or turning over as many pucks as we did earlier in the year, which makes it a little easier to manage momentum.”

The Sens have a tough game Wednesday in Colorado, followed by two more road contests in Nashville and Minnesota.

Measure of revenge? Red Wings bottle Lightning

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In some ways, it really felt like their first-round series.

For all the talent on both ends of the rink with the Detroit Red Wings and Tampa Bay Lightning, each squad can really smother opponents defensively when things go that way.

Through two periods, the two teams were very quiet. Things really picked up when Justin Abdelkader unleashed a big hit, a moment that injected enough life into the proceedings for the Red Wings to eventually build a 3-1 win.

Maybe they’re slipping under the radar a bit compared to previous iterations of the team, but it’s interesting that the Red Wings are now undefeated in three games.

They’ve been impressive at times, too, outscoring opponents by a combined score of 11-4.

Call it a refreshing time after Mike Babcock or merely carryover from a subtly solid run last season, but either way, the Red Wings may just be able to keep up their end of a brewing rivalry.

Hands of gold: Connor McDavid scores his first NHL goal


Taking three games to score your first NHL goal isn’t a big deal, unless you’re someone like Connor McDavid.

The mega-hyped wunderkind must feel relieved to finally find the net, as he tied tonight’s Edmonton Oilers – Dallas Stars skirmish with a 2-2 deflection goal, which you can watch above this post’s headline.

To no surprise, there were plenty of reactions, including Pierre LeBrun’s tweet (which inspired part of this headline).

Of course, there were the inevitable Wayne Gretzky comparisons:

Interesting thing you might not consider: Stars fans will have to stomach this one even more frequently than that time Patrik Stefan biffed that empty-netter (also against the Oilers):

McDavid may have also delivered his first questionable check, too: