Slumping Sens still a scary club

RANDY SPORTAK -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 10:09 AM ET

The fingertips are hovering above the panic button.

A slow start has their faithful second-guessing those Stanley Cup expectations.

It's tough times in Calgary, right?

Nope, we're talking about Ottawa and their beloved Senators.

Just like the Flames, the high-flying Senators are off to a slow start, having split their first two games against the Toronto Maple Leafs and falling to the Buffalo Sabres en route to a 1-2 start.

Still, despite those early struggles, the Flames don't see themselves going into tonight's meeting (5:30 p.m., Pay Per View) at Scotiabank Place against a limping squad.

"Ottawa's been a top team in the league for a long time and in order to consider yourself a top team, you have to beat those teams," said Calgary head coach Jim Playfair.

"They play a high-tempo style game, are a rush team, so our mandate is to get after them."

Calgary's scoring woes are well documented -- only four goals in the first three games of the season.

Scoring, especially on the powerplay, was a big focus of yesterday's Flames practice at Father David Bauer Arena before they embarked on their four-game road trip that also includes stops in Toronto, Montreal and Boston.

"We're well aware of where we are and we know it's about competing harder and getting our players to understand that we're a team that has to pressure the puck and take the pucks to the net," Playfair said.

Especially the powerplay, which has only clicked once during 25 chances and that was a meaningless tally in the waning minutes of a 4-1 loss to San Jose.

Playfair said the biggest problem regarding his team's man-advantage performance comes down to simply not working hard enough.

"Your powerplay and your penalty kill are both extensions of your five-on-five play," he said. "Right now, we're not taking pucks to the net from down low.

"We're not getting second chances off rebounds and we're not getting Dion (Phaneuf) open enough to get a lot of good shots from the back end.

"We know what we've got to work on and we're working on it."


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