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Senators feeling a new energy

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

Tuesday, 02.10.2009 / 2:19 PM ET / 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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ATLANTIC DIVISION
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 y - MTL 82 50 22 10 214 184 110
2 x - TBL 82 50 24 8 259 206 108
3 x - DET 82 43 25 14 231 211 100
4 x - OTT 82 43 26 13 232 208 99
5 BOS 82 41 27 14 209 201 96
6 FLA 82 38 29 15 198 213 91
7 TOR 82 30 44 8 206 257 68
8 BUF 82 23 51 8 153 269 54

STATS

2014-2015 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
E. Karlsson 82 21 45 7 66
M. Stone 80 26 38 21 64
K. Turris 82 24 40 5 64
B. Ryan 78 18 36 5 54
M. Hoffman 79 27 21 16 48
M. Zibanejad 80 20 26 0 46
C. MacArthur 62 16 20 -6 36
M. Michalek 66 13 21 3 34
D. Legwand 80 9 18 1 27
A. Chiasson 76 11 15 -5 26
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
C. Anderson 14 13 8 .923 2.49
R. Lehner 9 12 3 .905 3.02