'This isn't house league hockey'

BRUCE GARRIOCH -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 11:05 AM ET

DALLAS -- John Paddock isn't about to apologize.

The Senators coach is in it to win and he'll do whatever it takes to make that happen.

In the aftermath of a seven-game losing streak, which ended Wednesday with Ottawa's 5-4 win over the Panthers, Paddock said the club will use four lines when players on Ottawa's third and fourth lines start earning more ice time.

Asked yesterday why the fourth line of Shean Donovan, Dean McAmmond and Brian McGrattan saw only five shifts and didn't touch the ice in the third period against Florida, Paddock said it was because the club needed to get back on a winning track.

"We have to win hockey games," said Paddock. "Thankfully, we didn't take penalties, so the ice time was pretty good. But I said to (assistant coach) Greg (Carvel) before the game, 'If (Daniel Alfredsson) has to play 30 (minutes) for us to win, then he's going to play 30.' This isn't house league hockey. We have to win hockey games.

"Sometimes players can only do so much. But if it's a situation where we don't play (the next night), then certain guys are going to play more. The ice time was spread out between all three lines."

Preparing to face the Stars tonight at American Airlines Arena, the Senators can wrap up their three-game road trip on a high note by picking up five of a possible six points with a victory.

Against Florida, the Senators got some much-needed secondary scoring, with Randy Robitaille scoring twice, Mike Fisher getting his first goal in 15 games and rookie Nick Foligno chipping in for the first time since being recalled from Binghamton on Nov. 28.

Not only is Paddock looking to get more of a contribution from McAmmond and Donovan, the duo of centre Chris Kelly (one goal in 13 games) and winger Antoine Vermette (one goal in 14) haven't done anything to earn extra ice time, either.

"I've said from the start I don't want to play (Alfredsson) that much, but you have to do that during the course of a game," said Paddock. "The other side of it is you have to develop roles for other players and they have to develop roles within the team. I think we're still somewhat struggling for that.

"We're still trying to find guys to contribute to the play at a little bit higher level and a little bit better in certain situations. You can't be a two- or three-line team. We're still searching for contributions from the third and fourth line."

Alfredsson's average ice time of 23:36 this season is the third-highest among forwards. Only Tampa's Brad Richards and Martin St. Louis rank ahead of him.

The Senators rely on Alfredsson to be a game-changer, especially with their recent struggles.

"We've got to play smarter," said Donovan. "(Our line) got scored against (vs. the Panthers) and that's not good. We have to go out there and create energy. We've obviously got a lot of speed and stuff, but we have to go out there and work. We have to wear down whoever they have out there.

"You want it where you're playing your fourth line and you trust us enough to throw us out against anybody."

MARTIN INCENSED: Florida coach Jacques Martin wasn't pleased with the officiating of referees Mike Hasenfratz and Ian Walsh on Wednesday. Martin was upset that F Rostislav Olesz was pulled down on the game-winning goal by Robitaille in the third. "Before they scored the winning goal, our guy got tripped, there's no call," said Martin. "If (the referees) did an honest job, I'm blind." Martin was even more upset when told by a Florida reporter that the same officiating crew had apologized to the Senators for missing a goalie interference call on Lightning C Vincent Lecavalier on Tuesday in Tampa. "They made it back, I guess," said Martin, who will likely get a call from NHL VP Colin Campbell warning him about criticizing referees.


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