Senators Ride Early Goals To Record


Wednesday, November 7th 2007, 7:17 am
By: News On 6


OTTAWA (AP) _ The Ottawa Senators are playing at such a high level that their opponents aren't even sure that they're playing flat out.

Chris Phillips and Patrick Eaves scored goals 47 seconds apart early in the first period and Ottawa set a team record with its eighth straight win, 5-1 over the Toronto Maple Leafs on Tuesday night.

Martin Gerber made 30 saves and Daniel Alfredsson, Andrej Meszaros and Chris Kelly also scored for the Senators, who are off to the best start in NHL history through 14 games with a 13-1-0 mark and a record total of 26 points.

``They really took the game away from us right away and after that it was just a matter of them coasting right through the rest of the hockey game,'' said Toronto center Kyle Wellwood, who made his season debut after having surgery for a sports hernia.

Detroit set the previous 14-game record of 25 points with a 12-1-1 start in 2005-06, a mark that was equaled by Buffalo last season.

``Every team is pretty good these days,'' Alfredsson said. ``If you relax a little bit it's going to be a long night and I think that's been one of our keys, we've been mentally ready every night.''

In the other NHL games Tuesday night, Atlanta edged Washington 2-1 in overtime and the New York Islanders beat the Rangers 3-2.

The Senators improved to 15-2-2 in their last 19 games against their provincial rivals, including wins on consecutive nights to begin the season.

The bad blood between the two teams brought about a scrum in front of the Senators' bench with 50.9 seconds remaining.

Left wing Mark Bell, who was in the center of the pushing and shoving with Ottawa's Chris Neil, made his Maple Leafs debut after completing a 15-game suspension for a drinking and driving incident.

Senators center Jason Spezza missed his fourth game in a row because of a groin injury. Spezza, who had one goal and 12 assists in Ottawa's first 10 games, hasn't played since signing a seven-year, $49-million contract extension.

Phillips got his second goal of the season 2:59 in as he finished off a wonderful four-man passing play. Senators captain Daniel Alfredsson would have picked up a third assist on the goal if it were permitted as he fed a centering pass to Mike Fisher to begin the scoring play.

Fisher passed to Dany Heatley in the right corner, who quickly fed the puck to the slot as Phillips drove the net and put a shot past Vesa Toskala for his second goal of the season 2:59 in.

Eaves combined with Kelly 47 seconds later to score off a 2-on-1.

Kelly drove down the left side and held the puck until he was at the goal line beside the net before feeding a centering pass. Eaves held off his shot enough to easily put the puck over Toskala's outstretched left pad at 3:46.

Alfredsson scored his 10th goal early in the second to make it a three-goal lead as he finished off another 2-on-1 with Dean McAmmond for his third short-handed effort of the season.

Meszaros chased Toskala at 8:08 of the middle period with a power-play goal that made it 4-0.

Toronto's Nik Antropov scored his team-leading ninth goal on a power play at 14:23 of the second.

Kelly scored Ottawa's fifth goal on Andrew Raycroft off yet another 2-on-1 in the third.

``You don't want to give up five odd-man breaks a game _ we gave up five in the first four to five minutes,'' Maple Leafs coach Paul Maurice said.

Thrashers 2, Capitals 1, OT

Todd White scored the 100th goal of his career with 3:26 left in overtime and host Atlanta improved to 6-3 under interim coach Don Waddell, the team's general manager.

Ilya Kovalchuk scored his NHL-leading 13th goal _ and seventh in three games _ to make it 1-0 at the 13:40 mark of the second shortly before leaving with an injury.

Michael Nylander tied the score with 4:40 left in regulation for Washington, which has lost 10 of 12 after starting the season with three wins.

Islanders 3, Rangers 2

Miroslav Satan scored the winner for the second straight game, and the Islanders _ with three goals in the final period _ snapped the Rangers' four-game winning streak and dropped them to 0-5-1 on the road.

Ruslan Fedotenko and Trent Hunter also scored for the Islanders. Rick DiPietro returned from an eye injury and made 26 saves _ including two as the Rangers pushed hard for the tying goal with 3:05 left.

Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist allowed more than one goal for the first time in five games. Chris Drury and Paul Mara had the Rangers' goals.