As the Ottawa Senators approach the quarter point of the season, you can look at their performance so far from the glass-half-empty or the glass-half-full perspective.

If you’re a glass-half-full kind of person, you’d say the Senators are not leaving points on the table in games against teams they should beat. If you look from the glass-half-empty side, you’d probably conclude that the Senators have padded their record largely against bad teams and can’t get the job done against the top teams in the league. But then, the glass-half-full contingent would point out that two of their past three wins have been against the Montreal Canadiens and Boston Bruins.

So perhaps the glass is three-quarters full or, depending upon how you look at it, a quarter empty.

Here are the facts. The Senators have won nine games this season and, including a 3-2 overtime loss against the Washington Capitals back on Oct. 11, lost nine. The combined record of the teams they’ve defeated this season is 65-67-19 (.493 points percentage), while the combined record of the teams that have defeated them is 87-52-17 (.612 points percentage).

That a 9-8-1 record was good enough going into last night’s games to put the Senators in a playoff position says more about the mediocrity of the Eastern Conference than it does about how good the Senators are. Of their nine wins this season, only three of them are against teams with a record better than .500. Seven of their nine losses have been against teams with records better than .500.

Yes, the Senators are clearly piling up points against the bottom-feeders of the NHL, but there’s nothing necessarily wrong with that. It means the Senators are at least winning the games they’re supposed to win, and if the trend continues it should be good enough to secure them a playoff berth in the Eastern Conference.

But given the quality of the Eastern Conference this season, that’s hardly something about which you want to puff out your chest. The good news for the Senators is that, while they’ve lost to teams such as Vancouver, Pittsburgh, Montreal (twice), Philadelphia and Washington (in overtime), they’re undeniably on something of a roll heading into tonight’s matchup against the Carolina Hurricanes, a team that going into tonight’s game has been outscored 15-3 in its past two matches.

Now that’s a beatable team.

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