Gary Bettman and his people finally allowed the Senators to start the regular season like everyone else on Friday night.

Not only were the Senators the Columbus Blue Jackets Carolina Hurricanes and New York Islanders the last teams to play Game 1 but with six on the road (including a gruelling four-game trip to California and Arizona) before Ottawa's first on home ice it's clear Bryan Murray or Eugene Melnyk did something to tick off the schedule makers.

They play 'em one at a time of course but if you told the Senators Friday morning they'd be 3-3 when they finally opened at the Canadian Tire Centre Oct. 17 they'd happily take it right?

"If you can come back from that .500 I think you're not ultimately satisfied but you're OK" winger Bobby Ryan said hours before making his regular season debut with Ottawa. "You're getting back to your comfort zone and you're at a .500 level.

"But I think our expectations are going to be to win four or five. That's what you should be feeling going in to that trip. Obviously the travel is tough on that (Western) side. You're flying up to come back to go over. It's not easy by any means.

"I think these (first) two games aside we're just going to look at it as a four-game road trip. Go on that one and try to get three games out of that."

Maybe but I still think they should be ecstatic with 3-3 when judging by the first period against the Buffalo Sabres Friday they could also start 1-5.

Not that they were outright horrible during the early going at First Niagara Center but against a young team that could very well end up with the first overall pick in 2014 I expected them to be up by three at the intermission.