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Senators feeling a new energy

Up-tempo game has team in right place heading into taxing road trip

Tuesday, 10.02.2009 / 2:19 PM / Features
By Rob Brodie  - OttawaSenators.com
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Senators feeling a new energy
Brian Lee (left), captain Daniel Alfredsson (centre) and Mike Fisher listen to instructions from coach Cory Clouston during Senators practice earlier today at Scotiabank Place.
Talk about just the right time to be getting a second wind.

Faced with a gruelling five-game road trip through three time zones, the Ottawa Senators sounded and felt like an energetic bunch before they boarded the plane to Buffalo earlier this afternoon to begin their week-long odyssey.

They'll face off against the Sabres on Wednesday night at HSBC Arena (7:30 p.m., TSN, Team 1200), then move on to Philadelphia for a Thursday showdown with the Flyers (7 p.m., Rogers Sportsnet, Team 1200). After that come stops in Minnesota on Saturday, Nashville on Monday and Colorado on Tuesday before a return to Scotiabank two days later to take on the Vancouver Canucks.

It's a potentially wearying stretch, to be sure, but this a group that feels like it truly has its legs in the right place to handle the grind.

"Everyone is feeling a lot better," forward Dany Heatley said after the Senators held another spirited workout at Scotiabank Place. "There is a lot more energy in here and I think that's transferred over to our games and it's going to transfer over into the rest of our year."

Since taking over the team a week ago, Senators head coach Cory Clouston has the Senators playing a more up-tempo style. And he believes the seeds for doing it effectively begin on the practice ice.

"I think our guys today ... their legs feel way better than they did a week ago," he said. "If you ask the guys, (they'll tell you) they feel more energized. We've created practices that have forced them to skate (and) to move their feet more."

To hear forward Nick Foligno tell it, that's exactly what the Senators need right now.

"That's the way you should have practices run, especially in the NHL," he said. "Guys are moving all the time and that's the way we need to be. That translates into games. If we're moving in practice, we're going to be moving on the ice (in games).

"There are a lot of guys enjoying the practices the way they are. They're a little tough but that's the way they need to be."

"Their legs feel way better than they did a week ago. If you ask the guys, (they'll tell you) they feel more energized. We've created practices that have forced them to skate." - Cory Clouston
Added captain Daniel Alfredsson: "It seems like everybody is getting more energy out of it. It's been a good change for us."

So, too, has been the style of play. The Senators fired 42 pucks at Sabres goaltender Ryan Miller in Saturday's 3-2 shootout victory at Scotiabank Place.

"We want them to shoot," said Clouston. "We have guys who can shoot the puck. A good example of that is (Antoine) Vermette. There was a rush just before he scored his goal where he tried to be too fancy and make a pass and it got turned over.

"On the bench, we just reiterated 'you've got a good shot. Use that.' A couple of minutes later, he comes down the ice and you can't ask for a much better shot than that. He puts it right under the crossbar."

Around the boards

Forward Shean Donovan (lower body) and defenceman Alex Picard (upper body) are both on the road trip and there is a chance both might suit up against the Sabres. "I would say Shean for sure, as long as he's healthy, but we'll see how (Picard's) injury is," said Clouston, who was still awaiting final clearance from the team's doctors on both players ... Given the busy road stretch, goaltenders Brian Elliott and Alex Auld will both see action in the next week. "I'm not exactly sure when but we have a bit of a plan mapped out," said Clouston, who has yet to name his starter in Buffalo.


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STANDINGS

ATLANTIC DIVISION
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 p - BOS 82 54 19 9 261 177 117
2 x - TBL 82 46 27 9 240 215 101
3 x - MTL 82 46 28 8 215 204 100
4 x - DET 82 39 28 15 222 230 93
5 OTT 82 37 31 14 236 265 88
6 TOR 82 38 36 8 231 256 84
7 FLA 82 29 45 8 196 268 66
8 BUF 82 21 51 10 157 248 52

STATS

2013-2014 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
E. Karlsson 82 20 54 -15 74
J. Spezza 75 23 43 -26 66
K. Turris 82 26 32 22 58
C. MacArthur 79 24 31 12 55
B. Ryan 70 23 25 7 48
A. Hemsky 75 13 30 -15 43
M. Michalek 82 17 22 -25 39
M. Zibanejad 69 16 17 -15 33
M. Methot 75 6 17 0 23
P. Wiercioch 53 4 19 -1 23
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
C. Anderson 25 16 8 .911 3.00
R. Lehner 12 15 6 .913 3.06