Edmonton Oilers at Ottawa Senators on Nov. 29, 2010

The Ottawa Senators posted an impressive 3-0 win against the Toronto Maple Leafs Saturday night, but a tough stretch before that means they still have plenty of work to do.

Edmonton Oilers at Ottawa Senators on Nov. 29, 2010
PITTSBURGH, PA - APRIL 13: Jason Spezza #19 of the Ottawa Senators handles the puck against the Pittsburgh Penguins during the game at Consol Energy Center on April 13, 2014 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The Senators defeated the Penguins 3-2 in a shootout. (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)

THE STORY: The Ottawa Senators posted an impressive 3-0 win against the Toronto Maple Leafs Saturday night, but a tough stretch before that means they still have plenty of work to do. Ottawa is still a game below .500 and the season’s quarter pole is getting further and further back in the rear view mirror. Games against the NHL’s bottom-feeders are ones they can’t afford to lose.

THE SUBPLOTS: That was a nice day or two without a goalie controversy in Ottawa. So what does coach Cory Clouston do now? On the one hand, he has a netminder in who has played outstanding but can’t get even a modest amount of goal support. On the other, he has a guy who struggled all of last week but is coming off his second shutout of the season in Brian Elliott. It wouldn’t surprise me to see either stopper start, but it sure would be tough to bench Elliott now.

THE WILDCARD: Mike Fisher’s dominant performance in the Toronto contest showed what Ottawa can accomplish when its two top lines are productive. Quiet night for the Daniel Alfredsson, Jason Spezza and Peter Regin combo? No matter. Fisher, Alex Kovalev and Milan Michalek were ready to roll and combined for eight points. Fisher and Kovalev played well together last season, so it’ll be interesting to see if they can keep things going against the Oil.

THE OPPONENT: Woe is the Edmonton Oilers. They’re just 6-12-4 and are in a race to the bottom of the National Hockey League with the equally hapless New York Islanders. On the plus side, at least they’re not in the same boat as the Toronto Maple Leafs. While the Buds are bad and have little hope for the future (they’ve traded away all of their most valuable assets) the Oilers are doing things right. Guys like Taylor Hall and Jordan Eberle will make this team very dangerous in a few years’ time.

THE QUOTE: “We needed to get up for it and be good at home. We’ve got to make a habit of being tough and playing good early and playing solid games. We’ve been inconsistent of late and hopefully we can build on this and continue to do some of those things and win. It was one of those nights when things clicked. We felt good early and got a little bit of confidence.” — Fisher, on what the Senators need to do to continue their success.

THE SICK BAY: Senators — No injuries. Oilers — G Nikolai Khabibulin (goin, indefinite), RW Ales Hemsky (leg, questionable).

THE PREDICTION: The Senators have consistently defeated teams below them in the standings this season, so why does this feel like a trap game to me? Maybe it’s the unfamiliarity with the opponent, or the fact they might underestimate the second-worst team in the National Hockey League, but I think this will be a close game. I do think Ottawa will take it in the end, but it’ll be closer than some fans might expect after a strong outing against the Leafs Saturday. Senators 3, Leafs 2.

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