'Everything will fall into place'

BRUCE GARRIOCH, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 8:37 AM ET

TORONTO -- Alex Kovalev chalks up the Senators' opening-season loss to rust.

The team's top off-season free-agent signing simply pointed out that the Senators hadn't played a game in eight days before they faced New York and lost 5-2 to the Rangers.

Kovalev, 36, who didn't record a shot on goal in his Senators debut, said once the players get back into the rhythm of playing, the results will get better.

"We looked exactly like a team that was anxious and ready to start the season again because the summer was so long. We were just trying to do so much. You've heard this before, the harder you try, the worse it gets," said Kovalev.

"On (penalty killing) we were making mistakes that we weren't making in exhibition games. The power play wasn't there (going 0-for-4), we were running around and trying to make plays. This usually happens in the first one or two games."

Kovalev said it won't take long for the Senators to get back on track.

"Everything will fall into place as soon as everybody gets into game shape," said Kovalev. "We have to stop trying to do too much and just focus on the little details. Sometimes, you don't have to do too much to be successful. You just have to have good timing and good position.

"Once everything falls into place, you're going to see the lines clicking and it's going to look like they've been together for a while. The team will look a lot different compared to the first game. I wouldn't worry about one game."

Kovalev, who was on the injured Ryan Shannon's line in New York, will play on a line with centre Mike Fisher and winger Nick Foligno tonight against the Leafs in Toronto.

"It doesn't really matter (to him who he plays with). Fish is a really hard-working guy. He can score and he can shoot like all of us. We just have to start hitting the net and the puck is going to go in," said Kovalev.

Fisher said his job is to make sure he's in the right place for Kovalev.

"The key is to find holes. He's so creative, he'll get you the puck," said Fisher. "I don't want to change my game a whole lot. I want to make sure I'm driving (to the net), using my speed, getting pucks to the net and getting him the puck whenever I can."

Off the glass

Senators captain Daniel Alfredsson saw about "three minutes" of CBC's Battle of the Blades Sunday. "I watched a little bit of Bob Probert. He was pretty good. I was impressed. I like the idea," said Alfredsson. Asked if he'd ever participate when his career is over, Alfredsson laughed and said: "Who knows? Maybe. I wouldn't rule it out. She (wife Bibi) loves those shows. She might make me do it." ... Coach Cory Clouston said he's not sure about Shannon's status. "He's still day-to-day and that's about all I can say right now," said Clouston.

bruce.garrioch@sunmedia.ca


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