Ottawa Senators Begin Key Stretch Tonight Against New York Islanders

SensChirpContributor IOctober 8, 2009

OTTAWA - SEPTEMBER 19:  Pascal Leclaire #33 of the Ottawa Senators looks on against the Montreal Canadiens during a preseason game at Scotiabank Place on September 19, 2009 in Ottawa, Canada. The Ottawa Senators defeated the Montreal Canadiens 6-1.  (Photo by Phillip MacCallum/Getty Images)

I know, I know. It's only the third game of the season and the Senators first at Scotiabank Place but tonight's game against the Islanders marks the beginning of a key early season stretch for a team that expects to challenge for a playoff spot this season.


The visit from John Tavares and the New York Islanders begins an early season home stand where the Senators will play six of their next seven at The Bank.


Ottawa plays their next four at home (NYI, ATL, PIT, TB) and then goes to Montreal next Saturday before returning home for two more against the Predators and Bruins.


If the Senators can win four or five of their next seven they would set themselves up for a very solid month and get their season off on the right foot. If they falter during this early season home stand, they could find themselves playing catch up right out of the gate.


People have talked about giving this team some time to gel and that's fine. With so many newcomers in the line up this season the Senators will need some time to develop on ice chemistry.


With that said, Ottawa needs to pick up some wins here on home ice if they want to stay competitive in what will most certainly be a tight Eastern Conference.


After a brief swing down south to play the Panthers and Lightning, the Senators again return home for a spell and in total will play 15 of their next 19 games at Scotiabank Place.


A win tonight against the Islanders would be the right way to kick off an important stretch in the Senators schedule.