Giveaways alarm Paddock

DON BRENNAN -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 11:31 AM ET

MONTREAL -- Martin Gerber will make his seventh start in eight games tonight and, to ensure the happy gathering in his crease at the final buzzer that was missing in Toronto, he might want to consider doing a few things differently.

Like, he might want to do a better job with rebounds than he did on the first Leafs' goal. He might want to get that five-hole closed on point shots a little quicker than he did on their second. And he might want to avoid drifting out of position like he did on the third.

Okay, so maybe there should be some flexibility to the latter. Because if the Senators play the Habs like they did the Leafs, Gerber might want to make the occasional rush up ice.

"He can't score any goals from where he stands," coach John Paddock noted of his goalie yesterday.

Paddock's assistants counted just nine scoring chances for the Senators at the ACC, and Patrick Eaves was involved in four of them.

While that says Eaves had a good game, it also speaks to the performance of the others, as he's not the guy the Senators look to for their offence.

At the root of Ottawa's anemic attack was a problem that does not sit well with Paddock. He made that clear as he sat on a stool outside the visitor's dressing room yesterday.

"(Video coach) Tim (Pattyson) has us having eight turnovers at the blue line in the first period," Paddock said. "That's what cost us the game.

"They didn't get many scoring chances, either. That gave them eight opportunities to come back into our zone and it cost us eight opportunities in their zone. It's like the four-point game.

"There's nobody that's really allowed to do them," he said of the giveaway, "but some guys at least have more chances to make up for it. Jason (Spezza) made a terrible play across the blue line once, and he made a terrible play from the side wall on a pass back to (Chris) Phillips. I don't particularly like them, but his game is to be creative. There are other guys that should never, ever turn it over, because they're not going to make it up. Their game is to play it down low. Our team's game is to play it down low, but some guys have a little more latitude than others there.

"It was terrible."

The NHL stats sheet had the Senators guilty of 10 giveaways in total. Along with Spezza's pair, "skill" players Daniel Alfredsson (three), Dany Heatley (one) and Wade Redden (one) were also charged with giveaways.

The others were Chris Neil, Joe Corvo and Dean McAmmond.

"There's lots of guys that think they want to be players on our team, and they're not," Paddock said. "They've just got to get the puck in."

"Read the rush," he added in an all-we-ask fashion. "If the defenceman is backed way off and you can carry the puck into the hash mark and keep getting speed and go to the net, you do that. And if he's right in your face, you should chip it by him. If it's a 3-on-2, of course you carry it in and you make a play to the late man or the net. It's just being focused and ready to play. It's not rocket science. It's not that we tell the players to dump the puck in all the time. It's just make the right choice. There wasn't too many right decisions made.

"There's guys on the team that want to be more of a player than they are. They've just got to do the right thing."

Paddock indicated some subtle changes to the Senators' approach could be made tonight.

"I didn't think the players that get the most ice time were very good and they still got the most ice time and they weren't very good," he said. "It's really why we lost.

"We've got to spread the ice time a little bit if that's the kind of performance we're going to get from them and give other people some more ice time."

And if that fails, who knows, maybe Gerber gets the green light.

WINNING IS POWER: Having the 18th-ranked power play in the league is of no serious concern to Alfredsson. "You always want to be good at everything you do, but the most important this is, do you win games or not?" the captain said after practice and before pulling on his toque and going for a walk through the streets of Montreal. "I don't think it matters if your power play is first and your penalty killing is first if you're a .500 club. There's so many stats to look at and turn inside out, if you want. I think the most important thing is, does your team find ways to win?" Ottawa's does, compiling a league-best 15-3 record while scoring just 13 times on man-advantage opportunities for a 16% success rate. "Our power play has scored quite a few big goals, like in the third period when we've needed it. That's when it has come up big for us," said Alfredsson. "Obviously we'd like the percentages better, but as long as we know we can score goals when we need it and a lot of nights we have."


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