A Sens-ible approach

Ottawa Senators goaltender Ray Emery deflects a puck during practice at the Bell Sensplex on...

Ottawa Senators goaltender Ray Emery deflects a puck during practice at the Bell Sensplex on Saturday morning. The Sens face the Buffalo Sabres in Game 2 tonight in Ottawa. (Ottawa Sun/Blair Gable)

BRUCE GARRIOCH -- Ottawa Sun

, Last Updated: 9:08 AM ET

Bryan Murray summoned his players to the dressing room for a pointed chat before practice yesterday.

The message from the Senators coach was simple: Clean up your act.

Simply put, the Senators can either get back on track tonight in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference semi-final against the Buffalo Sabres or find themselves in a deep hole.

The Senators have used every minute of the 48-hour break since they dropped an ugly 7-6 overtime decision in Game 1 to analyze what went wrong.

"We know that we have to play better as a team," said Senators winger Martin Havlat following a one-hour workout yesterday at the Bell Sensplex. "We made mistakes and they ended up in our net. You can't do that.

"The big thing for us is not to give up the odd-man rushes. I don't think you're going to see another game like you saw on Friday night. Both teams will make adjustments and both teams will try to improve."

The good news for the Senators is they'll be healthy. Centre Chris Kelly, who took a puck near the eye on Friday, has been cleared to play after suffering from blurry vision.

Defenceman Brian Pothier, who sat out of Game 1 with an undisclosed injury, took part in the last two days of practice and is ready to return to the lineup.

"I'm feeling good. The extra two days has really given me a chance to get everything in order and I'm ready to go," said Pothier.

His return should help the Senators because it gives Murray options should rookie Andrej Meszaros continue to struggle as he did through the first round of the playoffs.

There isn't anything flashy about Pothier, but he gets the job done, moves the puck and doesn't get rattled. "Sure, it was tough to watch," said Pothier. "It's always tough when you don't play the way that you are capable of playing. I'm sure that we'll be ready to play and we'll play a better game."

The Senators really don't have a choice. They can't afford to go back to Buffalo trailing 2-0, with back-to-back games set for Wednesday and Thursday at the HSBC Arena. Ottawa has lost seven straight playoff games to the Sabres and needs to halt that streak right away.

"We can take a lot of positives out of our performance (in Game 1)," said Alfredsson. "We did a lot of good things. If we'd won that game, we'd all be talking about a great win it was. Unlike the media, which seems to focus on the negatives, we saw a lot of positives."

The Sabres could get a boost with the return of winger Jochen Hecht. He has been out with an upper body injury since being slammed into the boards by Philadelphia's Peter Forsberg in Game 4 of their series. Whether Hecht returns or not, the Sabres want another win in Ottawa.

"You have to be a little greedy," said Sabres co-captain Chris Drury. "It's always about the next game. You can't be satisfied with just one."


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