|Chris Kelly celebrates after scoring a goal against the New York Rangers Sunday in a 3-1 win. Kelly says the loss to the San Jose Sharks last Thursday was a slap in the head for the team.
MONTREAL - Being embarrassed by Dany Heatley and the San Jose Sharks last week may turn out to be the slap upside the head the Senators needed.
“I think after the San Jose game, there was kind of that sick feeling that we hadn’t been playing well, that we needed to get back to the basics, as cliche as that sounds,” Chris Kelly, the hero of Sunday’s 3-1 win in New York, said after the Senators practiced Monday at Bell Centre.
“I thought we played a good game against (two nights later versus) Buffalo. Unfortunately, we lost in a shootout, but then we kind of carried that over into Sunday’s game, where we had a great start and it just kind of went from there.”
Kelly and his teammates were in a very foul mood immediately following a 2-1 loss to Pittsburgh late last month, but that was not like the bitter taste they had in their mouth after Heatley and the Sharks blanked them 4-0 at a Scotiabank Place that had a distinct playoff atmosphere to it.
“You know when you don’t perform the way you want to perform, and you’ve lost a few in a row ... it’s that sick feeling where your really want to do better,” said Kelly, who scored all of Ottawa’s goals in a 3-1 win over the Rangers.
“The Pittsburgh thing, we played well and they capitalized on two powerplay attempts. I thought we deserved a better fate. The San Jose game, that wasn’t the case.”
Six Senators were missing from Monday’s practice - Jason Spezza, Mike Fisher, Alex Kovalev, Chris Phillips, Filip Kuba and Erik Karlsson - but all will be good to go against the Habs, coach Cory Clouston said.
It’s likely Pascal Leclaire, another star in Sunday’s victory, will get the call against the Habs. Brian Elliott practiced Monday, but he has an upper body injury and could probably stand a little more rest.
Clouston said it’s imperative the Senators remember what they did right in their last two games when playing Montreal.
“After the shootout loss, we were disappointed that we didn’t win that game, but we felt good about how we played,” he said.
“We’ve just got to make sure we’re ready to go (Tuesday), that we’re not taking a step back with our focus, our intensitity, and that we’re building on our last couple of games.”