Senators hope to make winning a habit

The Ottawa Senators will aim for consecutive wins for the first time in over a month Wednesday night in Atlanta.

The Ottawa Senators will aim for consecutive wins for the first time in over a month Wednesday night in Atlanta.

Ottawa (14-21-6) is still 13 points back from Eastern Conference playoff contention, but as the aphorism goes, even the longest journey begins with but a single step.

Lao-tzu probably didn't know anything about hockey, but he may have approved of Ottawa's 5-1 home victory on Tuesday against Carolina.

Dany Heatley and Antoine Vermette had one goal and one assist apiece in support of rookie netminder Brian Elliott, who posted 23 saves for his first NHL win.

Dean McAmmond, Mike Fisher and Chris Phillips rounded out the scoring for the Senators.

While the focus in recent days has been on Elliott being summoned from the minors to replace veteran goalies Alex Auld and Martin Gerber, Ottawa will only go as far as its forwards can take them.

The Senators peppered the Hurricanes with 40 shots, the type of output not often seen this season, and a couple of players made rare appearances on the scoresheet.

While Vermette has scored three goals in his last 11 games to approach the standard the club expected heading into the season, Fisher and McAmmond each snapped out of painfully long droughts.

Fisher scored for the first time in 20 games, with McAmmond's streak two games longer.

Atlanta (14-24-5) was one of the teams Ottawa beat the last time it won two in a row, but the Thrashers also handed the Senators an embarrassing 4-1 defeat at Scotiabank Place last month.

The clubs will meet one more time after Wednesday, on March 28.

The Thrashers have had time to reflect on their last game, an 8-4 drubbing against division rival Florida. It was Atlanta's seventh loss in its last nine games.

Todd White had a goal and two assist, with Ilya Kovalchuk, Erik Christensen and Colby Armstrong also scoring. Goalie Kari Lehtnonen, who had shut out New Jersey in his previous start, was victimized for seven goals before giving away to Johan Hedberg.

Since the last contest, the Thrashers named Kovalchuk the seventh team captain in franchise history. The team had been revolving its alternate captains since Bobby Holik left after last season.

Kovalchuk, who has 509 points in 509 career games all played with Atlanta, is the fifth Russian to captain a club in the NHL.

Atlanta is expected to have sophomore forward Bryan Little back in the lineup after he missed three games with a lower body injury, as well as rookie defenceman Zach Bogosian, who was in the minors for a conditioning stint after breaking a bone in his leg in late October.

Ottawa will return home for three consecutive games in its own rink, beginning with Montreal on Saturday (CBC,, 6:30 p.m.).