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Sen-sational start

The Hockey News

The Hockey News

Maybe a strong finish is worth something after all.

In the final third of every NHL season, some team previously thought to be completely out of the playoff chase suddenly starts playing .600 hockey, only to inevitably fall just shy of a post-season berth.

Usually it’s Florida. Last year, it was Ottawa. And Florida.

Typically the late-season surge does nothing but create unrealistic expectations for the following year. The Sens, however, are off to a nice start, sitting atop a Northeast Division that’s going to be extremely weak if Boston doesn’t get it together soon.

Pascal Leclaire has done the job in goal, captain Daniel Alfredsson is leading the way with three goals and nine points in seven games and the team is killing 93.1 percent of the penalties it’s assessed, good for the second-best mark in the league.

The Sens still need more production from top center Jason Spezza, but at least the entire team isn’t procrastinating this time around. 

RK.

TEAM

LW

OVERALL

THE SCOOP

1

1

7-1-0

Old newcomer Jay McKee forms nice 'D' pair with young Alex Goligoski

2

6

7-1-0

Nice to see a revived Wade Redden on the blueline

3

8

5-1-0

Got their fifth win on Oct. 17; last season, that came on Nov. 5

4

7

5-2-1

Did you catch Cristobal Huet's incredible hiccup?

5

21

6-1-1

Matt Duchene gets first NHL goal versus Detroit, then gets welcome news he is staying with the big club all year

6

9

4-2-2

Brendan Morrison is going to win somebody a hockey pool

7

5

5-2-1

Big Brian McGrattan records a Gordie Howe hat trick versus Vancouver

8

16

5-2-0

Getting some solid play on the back end from longtime AHLer Matt Carkner

9

26

4-1-0

Posted four or more goals in four of five games

10

3

3-2-1

Have been outscored 9-4 in third periods

11

4

4-3-1

Eight games and just one assist for Ryane Clowe

12

25

5-2-0

Phoenix has best team GAA at 1.43, thanks largely to Ilya Bryzgalov

13

2

3-3-1

Seems bizarre to contemplate, but this team could finish fourth in the Central

14

13

4-1-1

Best 5-on-5 goals for/against ratio in the league at 2.4

15

19

3-1-3

Captain Brenden Morrow has five goals, eight points after spending much of last season on the shelf

16

17

4-3-0

Martin Brodeur can tie Terry Sawchuk's all-time shutout record (103) Thursday in Madison Square Garden

17

11

3-2-1

Vets Keith Tkachuk, Andy McDonald and Paul Kariya carrying the offensive load early, but don't forget young Erik Johnson's six assists in six games

18

15

4-2-1

Gilbert Brule finally showing signs of a breakthrough with four goals and seven points in seven games

19

12

3-4-0

Losing Milan Lucic to a broken finger won't help middling early-season start

20

10

4-4-0

Need to straighten out streaky results

21

14

3-3-1

After filling the Ducks' hole at No. 2 center last year, Andrew Ebbett was placed on waivers and picked up by Chicago

22

20

3-4-0

Mason Raymond finally using that terrific speed to cut hard to the net

23

24

2-3-2

Six assists, but no goals through seven games for Vincent Lecavalier

24

28

2-4-0

Six 5-on-5 goals is worst total in the league

25

22

2-4-1

In desperate need of offense; have just 14 goals in seven games, seven of which came in one tilt

26

23

2-5-0

Good for one really bad period a game

27

18

2-4-1

Central Division's lone soft touch right now

28

29

0-3-3

Matt Moulson starts his Isles career with four goals and seven points through six games

29

27

1-6-0

Injuries piling up; how much can Chuck Kobasew help?

30

30

0-6-1

Winless in seven, Leafs now hit the road for five straight

The Hockey News ranks the teams 1-30 each Monday based on a combination of last week’s play and a squad’s overall outlook.

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