Is it finally time for Senators to take two steps forward?

It’s easy to break your ankle slipping on the ice these days in the frozen wonderland we call Ottawa. And, if you’re a typical Ottawa Senators fan, it’s also easy to break your ankle jumping on and off the bandwagon.

NEWARK, New Jersey – Be careful out there.

It’s easy to break your ankle slipping on the ice these days in the frozen wonderland we call Ottawa. And, if you’re a typical Ottawa Senators fan, it’s also easy to break your ankle jumping on and off the bandwagon.

It was another case of here we go again as the Senators left Ottawa for not quite so frigid New Jersey Tuesday afternoon. The Senators will be aiming, one more time, to string together a pair of wins for the first time in five weeks, when they meet the Devils here Wednesday.

The mood was generally upbeat in the aftermath of the made-for-Ottawa Cinderella story featuring Cody Ceci and his overtime heroics in Monday’s 3-2 win over the St. Louis Blues. The doom and gloom of Craig Anderson’s brief and weak goaltending effort in Saturday’s 5-2 defeat to the Los Angeles Kings is in the rear-view. Well, at least for now.

Every time you want to dismiss the season as a write-off, the Senators deliver some promise. Against the Blues, it was one of the most complete efforts of the season — generally solid defence, timely big saves from Robin Lehner, a determined third period comeback, physical play, pretty goals and some hometown heroics, to boot – making you wonder if there might just be something here after all.

It certainly helps that the Eastern Conference is full of fair to middling competition, leaving playoff spots open for any team which can put together any kind of decent winning streak.

Yet, given the Senators recent history of poor follow-up performances, it’s also difficult to get overly excited about one game. You could say the Senators are again between The Rock – the moniker for New Jersey’s Prudential Center – and a hard place.

Even the players, general manager and team owner are wary of getting ahead of themselves.

“We’re playing well, I think it’s everybody that’s starting to finally come around, but … it’s another one game,” winger Erik Condra said following Tuesday’s practice at Canadian Tire Centre. “We’re definitely not too high after that one. We’ve done this a few times where we’ve had a really good game and haven’t come back (with another good game), so I’m not going to say anything after that one like ‘that was the best and that’s it and that’s the turnaround for the year’, because we’ve done it a few times.”

For those who need a reminder, this is what the roller-coaster ride has looked like, dating back to the Senators three-game winning streak from Nov. 5- 9: Win (St. Louis), Loss (Los Angeles), Win (Buffalo), Shootout Loss (Buffalo), Win (Philadelphia), Shootout Loss (Toronto), Loss (Tampa Bay), Win (Florida), Loss (Detroit), Loss (Vancouver), Win (Washington), Loss (Carolina), Win (Detroit), Loss (Minnesota), Loss (Philadelphia), Loss (Columbus), Win (Boston), Loss (Philadelphia).

It’s enough to make general manager Bryan Murray’s head spin. He joked Tuesday about having a bitter-sweet reaction to the sound game against St. Louis. On one hand, after seeing what the current crew did against one of the league’s best teams, he’s reassured in the team he has built. Perhaps change isn’t needed. On the other hand, he’s gritting his teeth, frustrated at how rarely they’ve looked so good.

On Monday, owner Eugene Melnyk was outspoken about how the club had “looked like champions” against top quality opponents, but had blown games against the likes of Buffalo and Edmonton.

Melnyk talked with optimism about what appears to be favourable schedule in the latter half of the season and the potential for success.

“Give me six (wins) out of eight (games),” Melnyk said. “I will be happy.”

First things first. Coach Paul MacLean is simply looking for two out of two after Monday’s victory.

“It was better,” said MacLean, impressed that the Senators dictated the terms of the game against St. Louis for extended stretches. “Now, we would like to see it again. That’s what we’re looking forward to seeing. We did a lot of things well.

“It’s a test for us (Wednesday). Like it has been all year. Another opportunity.”

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