Sens need to rev it up early vs. Avs
DON BRENNAN, QMI Agency
OTTAWA - In playing his first game against the team that traded him for a holy Brian Elliott, Senators goalie Craig Anderson probably wouldn’t mind working with a lead.
Through three games, the Senators have not once been in front. In 185 minutes, they’ve either been tied or playing catchup. They have 11 goals, but only one of them has been scored in the first 40 minutes. Now that they have a win under their belt that could change, coach Paul MacLean figures.
“I think it’s going to loosen us up,” MacLean said Wednesday. “I think we were a little bit like a teepee and a wigwam in the first period, in the first three games, as far as having a little bit of too much tension in our sticks, and missing on opportunities that were there. I’m hoping that (Thursday night) we’ll be a little more loose and we’ll be able to come out and get the lead.”
Asked about the teepee/wigwam reference, MacLean smiled.
“Two tents (too tense),” he said, garnering a laugh from the gathered media.
Anderson will make his fourth start in game No. 4, which sees the Senators take on the Colorado Avalanche at Scotiabank Place Thursday. In February, the Avalanche cut ties with Anderson, their starter for a year and a half, when they opted against signing him before he became a free agent. In return, they spared Senators fans from watching Elliott misplay the position any longer, making a 1-for-1 swap with Ottawa.
“Obviously, away from the rink you’ve got some good friends on that side,” Anderson, who is 1-2 and has allowed 12 goals in eight periods, said of facing his ex-mates. “But it’s all business, when you come to the rink. (Thursday) it’s going to be all business. The object at hand is to get two points.”
They are a big pair for the Senators, who have a couple of tough games coming up when they play in Washington Saturday and return home to face Philadelphia Tuesday.
Getting back to .500 is the goal, and getting the first goal makes it easier to accomplish.
“It’s always easier playing with the lead,” said Nick Foligno, the only Senator to have slipped one past an opposition goalie prior to the second intermission. “You feel like you’re dictating the way the game is played.
“Obviously, our goal is to get that first goal and to keep them coming, to keep teams on their heels.”
It’s not like the Senators came out flat against the Wild. Jacked up by the red carpet treatment and rousing roars of welcome back by the home fans, they outshot Minnesota 16-12 in the first and 13-2 in the second. But they still trailed 2-1 heading into the final period and 3-1 until there was a bit less than 14 minutes to play.
“The urgency was there at the start of the game,” said Daniel Alfredsson. “We just couldn’t get it by (Wild goalie Niklas) Backstrom. That’s the way it goes. If you stick with it, you know you’re going to get your chances.”
It would have been extremely disappointing to outplay the Wild and not come up with two points.
“It was just really big for morale in here,” said Foligno .
Meanwhile, Anderson will have some extra incentive to play well against a team he really never wanted to leave.
“After that first year, I felt really well,” he said of being in Colorado. “I felt the organization was a great organization and somewhere I wanted to be. It was unfortunate things didn’t get done (on a new contract). It’s just the way things happen. You’ve got no control over it. You just go about your business as best you can.”