NEW YORK --
Players for the Ottawa Senators
pointed to breakdowns at critical moments Thursday against the New York Rangers
as the primary reason for their opening-game loss at Madison Square Garden.
"We have to be better with the puck," goalie Craig Anderson
told the media following practice Friday at Chelsea Piers. "We didn't manage the puck well when it was on our stick and we didn't make good plays. Turnovers will cost you."
The Senators committed eight giveaways in the 4-2 loss. In the final half of the second period, the Rangers outshot the Senators, 8-2, and outscored the visitors, 2-0.
"We feel like we can play with them," Senators center Jason Spezza
said. "I think we just played pretty good at times, and kind of got away from our game and that's when they took over -- that's what makes them the best team in the East."
The Rangers entered their Eastern Conference Quarterfinal series against the Senators as the top seed in the conference. The underdog Senators were seeded eighth.
"They were probably more consistent than us but the feeling is optimism," Spezza said. "You have to be prepared to lose games to win in the playoffs, and we're not going to win them all, so we're optimistic we can make this a series and beat these guys. We just have to play a little better."
Anderson, who allowed four goals on 31 shots, admitted he must also play better.
"There will be breakdowns every game, and it's my job to step up and make the save for the guys," Anderson said. "The less mistakes you make, the fewer chances we give and we gave them chances [in Game 1] and they capitalized."
Senators coach Paul MacLean
knows if his team has any chance of advancing in the playoffs, it must learn to play a full 60-minute game.
"We weren't horrible for parts of the game, but in the playoffs, you need to be good the whole game," MacLean said.
Follow Mike Morreale on Twitter at: @mike_morreale