The 4 game road swing that the Ottawa Senators are about to embark on is one that they have done on 3 previous occasions since the lockout of 2004-05, and the result hasn’t been pretty. Each time that the Sens made the trek to the Pacific Southwest, they have failed to come away with more than 3 of 8 possible points, and if you combine them together, they have earned 7 of a possible 24 points.
The last time they made the trip (January 2012), it started off well with a 4-1 win in a game that Craig Anderson stole. Ottawa was outshot 37-21, but Anderson held firm and Erik Karlsson scored the winner in San Jose. It went downhill from there, however, as that win was followed by a 2-1 loss in Anaheim, a 4-1 loss to the Kings and a 3-2 defeat at the hands of the Coyotes earning them 2 of a possible 8 points.
The previous US West Coast trip (Dec 2009) saw them drop the first 3 games of the trip, 5-2 to San Jose, 6-3 in LA and 3-2 to the Coyotes before going back to Cali and pulling out a 3-2 shootout victory over the Ducks. The shootout winner – Daniel Alfredsson salvaged 2 of a possible 8 points.
Before that, in March 2008, the Sens opened the trip with a 3-1 loss to the Ducks, managed a point against the Sharks in a 3-2 OT loss before being shut out by Erik Ersberg and the LA Kings 2-0. They closed that trip with a 4-2 win over the Coyotes, meaning they earned 3 of a possible 8 points.
This is the earliest point of the season that they have made that road trip, and it could work to their benefit because they are fresh, and have not played much hockey yet this season. Another advantage is that the trip is a day longer than it had been in any of the previous trips. It was always a 4 game in 6 day endeavour , but this time it is a 4 game in 7 day tour. They still have a back to back situation, but they have an extra day off between the first and 2nd games.
It will not be an easy trip by any means, as there are no pushovers in the group. Earning 3 of 4 points on the road to start the season has reduced any sense of desperation, but it hasn’t been the prettiest start. The road trip happening this early will provide for some opportunity for team bonding, with a few new (and returning) faces.
Whatever happens, you have to hope that the Senators can come away with more than 2 or 3 points on the trip to keep pace with the likes of Bruins and Maple Leafs who are both off to 2-0 and 3-0 starts respectively. By the time the Senators play their home opener on Oct 17, they will have played 15% of their road schedule and have traditionally their toughest road trip in the rear view mirror.