Senators all mixed up

BRUCE GARRIOCH, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 8:52 AM ET

The Senators did a line dance yesterday.

After dropping a 5-2 decision to the Rangers at Madison Square Garden on Saturday night, the Senators arrived at the Bell Sensplex for practice to juggled forward combinations.

With Ryan Shannon nursing “bumps and bruises” that have him listed as doubtful for tomorrow’s game against the Maple Leafs in Toronto, Senators coach Cory Clouston made changes to his forward units, with the most significant seeing Mike Fisher moved back to centre, between Nick Foligno and Alex Kovalev.

With Fisher moving off Peter Regin’s wing, Clouston had Regin skating between Jonathan Cheechoo and Chris Neil yesterday.

The top line of Milan Michalek, Jason Spezza and Daniel Alfredsson remained intact. Shean Donovan replaced Neil on the fourth line with Chris Kelly and Jarkko Ruutu. Donovan was a healthy scratch on Saturday night.

Switching back to centre is no big deal to Fisher.

“I’m comfortable playing either. I felt fine on the wing,” said Fisher. “With (Shannon) not practising, it was back to centre and I played a little bit of centre (Saturday) night as well. It doesn’t really matter to me.”

For the Senators to have any success, Kovalev needs to be a big part of the offence.

“Sometimes simpler is better, but if we bury some of those chances then he’s second star because of the chances he set up. He’s got a great shot,” said Clouston. “We saw it in practice. He’s picking the lights out. He’s got to use that as much as he possibly can.”

While Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist was partly responsible for the Senators’ misery at MSG, the players know their blunders cost them goals.

“We’ve just got to bear down. When you get that opportunity you’ve got to make sure you cash in,” said Foligno. “You gotta make sure that when you get those chances, it’s in the net more. You’ve got to create havoc in front and jump on rebounds. That’s the big thing.

“We’ve got enough shooters. We’ve got to get guys in front and get dirty. That’s the way goals are scored. It’s the plays in front of the net that cause a lot of goals. We’ve got to make sure we are getting guys there. You can talk all you want about the skill guys we have, but we if don’t get any traffic in front, it’s going to make a lot hard to score.”

Clouston said he knows the club will start cashing in.

“We’re getting the chances. Eventually, they’re going to come,” said Clouston. “I like the fact that we generated offence and we generated opportunities. Now, the next step is to finish them by being a little more poised and a little more patient around the net. Those will come.”


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