Turns out, I didn't need to worry. The only ones capable of jinxing the team-record win streak were their provincial enemies in blue & white.
That 5-0 loss to the Toronto Maple Leafs literally left me feeling ill. How could we have defeated the likes of New Jersey, Pittsburgh, and Vancouver during that formidable run of W's, then go so soft against the basement dwelling Blue team?
In any case - I refuse to dwell on that loss.
Because last night, the Sens shook it off, and got right back to business. They took on the Calgary Flames on home ice, and came from behind twice to eventually win it 3-2. They looked more like the streaking, amazing Sens that held that 11-game winning streak, instead of the floundering, bumbling idiots that failed to even get a goal against the lowly Leafs. It was almost like that sorry excuse for a game never happened.
They restored my faith in them. Under Cory Clouston's guidance, they have come together and returned to the upper ranks of the NHL's standings, after several seasons of failure and terrible luck.
Last night, goals came from Alex Kovalev, Jarkko Ruutu, and Jason Spezza (with the winner), and if Jonathan Cheechoo had scored on any of his 20-odd amazing chances in his 500th career game, the score could have been higher. Also, the Sens received the big stops once again from Brian Elliott, who, despite a blip on Saturday night, has really stepped into the role of #1 netminder in the nation's capital.
If there's one thing I've noticed about this team during this streak (Saturday night's game notwithstanding), is their ability to stay calm when things go wrong, and go right back to work on the next shift. They battle hard, and when they're down a goal or two, it's not the end of the world. With this Senators team, that doesn't mean things are over. (Five was a little much to come back from, but honestly, up until the third period, I wasn't ruling them out...)
Many wonderful little stories have developed since Christmas. Captain Daniel Alfredsson, returning from injury, sparked the team to life and made his presence felt as the streak began. Spezza, also returning from injury, has had eight goals and 2 assists in eight games (the only game he was held pointless since his return was vs. the Leafs). As it turns out, the healthy Ottawa Senators are a force to be reckoned with.
The only team currently better than the Sens? The Washington Capitals, who currently hold a 14-game winning streak. And guess who the Sens face tomorrow night?
It should make for an interesting battle, and it's always fun to watch Alexander Ovechkin. And I have high hopes that the new winning streak will continue, and that the Caps' streak will end.
GO SENS GO!!