The longest winning streak in franchise history is over, but the Ottawa Senators find themselves in a much better spot than they were after their previous defeat.
The Senators may have a chance to take over the Northeast Division lead as they try to bounce back from their first loss in more than three weeks Tuesday night against the Calgary Flames, a team Ottawa hasn’t beaten in nearly six years.
The Senators’ string of 11 straight victories ended Saturday night in a 5-0 road loss to Toronto, which scored three goals in the first period after Ottawa had held each opponent during the streak to two or fewer goals for the entire game.
“We were playing so well, it’s a shame we had to lose this way,” center Jason Spezza(notes) said. “We were feeling good, we were working hard and everything was going great. This gives us a dose of humility.”
Spezza had scored at least one goal in six straight games since coming back from a knee injury before Toronto shut down the rejuvenated Senators. Captain Daniel Alfredsson(notes), left wing Milan Michalek(notes) and defenseman Filip Kuba(notes) also returned from injuries during the winning streak.
Ottawa has risen to fifth place in the Eastern Conference and pulled within one point of Buffalo for the Northeast lead. The Sabres have lost four straight and face Boston on Tuesday.
“It’s been huge for us, there’s no question,” Alfredsson told the Senators’ official Web site. “I don’t think we can understand how big it’s been until the end, but it’s put us in a great position, where we are right now going down to the last push here.
“We just want to keep it going and try to improve. I think we’re still not where we think we can be.”
The Senators have won a season high-tying five in a row at home since losing 3-0 to Florida on Jan. 9. They will be facing a Calgary club that has beaten Ottawa five straight times since the Senators’ 2-1 home win Feb. 21, 2004.
Calgary (29-21-9) has gone 3-1-1 since a nine-game losing streak and has a chance to finish a three-game road trip with five of a possible six points as it tries to maintain its grip on a playoff spot.
The Flames let an extra point slip away Saturday night in Tampa, losing 2-1 in overtime - their fourth defeat in 27 games after entering the third period with the lead.
“We got a point and move on,” coach Brent Sutter said. “It was there for us to have two, no question. We came up a little short.”
The Flames are still adjusting after adding a bevy of newcomers when they traded Dion Phaneuf(notes) on Jan. 31 and Olli Jokinen(notes) on Feb. 2. Niklas Hagman(notes), Ales Kotalik(notes), Jamal Mayers(notes), Matt Stajan(notes) and Ian White(notes) each have one point since joining the Flames in those deals.