Senators doing it for Daddy?

Senators forward Jason Spezza will be one of many Ottawa players who will be scrutinized by their...

Senators forward Jason Spezza will be one of many Ottawa players who will be scrutinized by their father as the dads join the team on the road this week. (DARREN BROWN/QMI Agency)

DON BRENNAN, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 9:43 PM ET

Hours before the much-anticipated debut of the HBO documentary: 24/7 Penguins-Capitals: Road to the Winter Classic, the Senators could have borrowed the title of a TV series from a whole other era to call their two-games-in-two-days road trip to Minnesota and Colorado: The (1954-60) sitcom Father Knows Best.

Maybe the players’ dads on this short swing through the Western Conference can impart some wisdom on how to score. It seems to be a lost art, as far as their boys are concerned.

Sitting seven points out of the playoff picture and having played two and four more games, respectively, than the eighth- and seventh-place teams before Wednesday’s league play commenced, the Senators, as a team, just aren’t scoring enough. They haven’t won back-to-back games since Nov. 9, which, not coincidentally, is also the last time they put more than three pucks in a net.

They’ve only scored more than three goals five times all season.

“There’s a lot of pressure with the dads around,” said a half-joking Jason Spezza, whose club was 2-0 on the fathers’ trip last year. “A lot of strong opinions. We definitely feel like we have to play good in front of them. Especially when you’ve got to go home (to the hotel) to a room with your dad.

“I call my dad after every game. He usually lets me know how he thought I played, and he’s pretty honest with his assessment most nights, so I definitely want to play well with him here.”

And he wants to light the lamp. Spezza and company have combined for 71 goals this season, lowest in the Northeast Division. 

“We expect to be a better offensive team,” said Spezza. “The personnel we’ve had, we haven’t had a lot of changeover, and we’ve never had problems scoring goals before. I think it’s a mindset more than anything, playing a little more aggressive as a team ... but we definitely have the ingredients in here to score goals.”

The Senators left Ottawa with some positive thoughts. They are 3-1-1 all-time in Minnesota, including a 5-3 come-from-behind victory the last time they were there — the fourth of Cory Clouston’s NHL coaching career. They’ve also grabbed 3-of-4 points the last two times out.

“I think we’ve got to keep doing what we’re doing,” said Nick Foligno. “The goals are coming. It’s just a matter of making sure we’re staying tight in areas we need to stay tight in and not trying to force things.”

Said Clouston: “We’ve played some good games. We haven’t managed to put wins together ... it seems when we get the goals, we’ve had a couple of outings where our goaltenders haven’t been where we need them to be. And vice versa, a couple of games where we’ve had the goaltending but haven’t put the pucks in the net.”

A few more chances with the man advantage would help. Only the New Jersey Devils have had fewer power- play opportunities than the 94 awarded to Ottawa thus far.


Videos

Photos