Balanced scoring helped the Senators continue to put a game losing streak behind them. Ottawa will look for a similar effort game road trip versus the New York Islanders.
The Sens went winless over a two-week span that bridged January and February, but have rebounded with a 3-0-1 spurt to stay in the hunt for the Northeast Division title. Ottawa is four points back of first-place Boston and is also just three points behind Pittsburgh and Philadelphia for the conference's fifth seed.
The club has picked up wins over the first two tests of its road trip, shutting out Tampa Bay last Tuesday before rolling to a 6-2 triumph the following night in Sunrise. Six different players scored for the Senators, who broke open the game with the Panthers thanks to consecutive goals by Kaspars Daugavins, Bobby Butler and Daniel Alfredsson in the second period.
"Getting a lead and not chasing in the game is real good and real important on the road. We didn't play particularly well at the start, I didn't think," said Sens head coach Paul MacLean.
"I think it's more of just relief," said O'Brien, who was skating in his 13th NHL game and seventh this year. "It was kind of building up there. It was just a great feeling."
Ottawa's seven-run losing streak from Jan. 21-Feb. 7 featured a 2-1 overtime setback to the visiting Islanders on Feb. 3. New York won the game at the 2:35 mark of the extra frame on a rare goal by defenseman Mark Eaton.
The Islanders have won three straight over the Senators, taking the past two beyond regulation, and have captured four of the last six at home in this series.
New York will be looking to string together consecutive wins today for the first time since beating Ottawa at the start of the month three days after a three-goal win at Carolina. The Isles are 4-3-1 in eight games since beating the Sens and are coming off Saturday's 4-3 win over the Hurricanes.
Kyle Okposo and Frans Nielsen also scored for the Islanders, while P.A. Parenteau added two assists. With Evgeni Nabokov battling flu-like symptoms, Kevin Poulin got the start and ended with 33 saves.
"Overall, everyone did a great job of battling through. It probably wasn't our best game but we found a way," said Tavares. "We turned it up when we had to and made some plays in key moments of the game."
Despite their inconsistent play as of late, the Islanders are six points back of the eighth spot in the Eastern Conference.