NEW YORK -- The Ottawa Senators broke away from the normal routine Friday following a tough loss Thursday in order to refresh and prepare for a long series.
Instead of holding practice at Madison Square Garden the day before Game 2 of their Eastern Conference Quarterfinal series with the New York Rangers on Saturday, the Senators skated at Chelsea Piers on Friday afternoon.
While it was a fun experience for the players, coach Paul MacLean also put his team through a pretty intense, hour-long workout.
"It was a good, sharp practice," Senators center Jason Spezza said. "It was a different atmosphere to practice in, with the open concept with the windows, but it was a really focused practice. I think you can tell we wanted to make sure we were sharp, and we worked on some things we wanted to do better. But I thought the guys were really crisp … it was more of a workmanlike day."
Still, for some players, like goalie Craig Anderson, a pair of sunglasses would have probably come in handy.
"It was interesting since there was a glare of the sun off the ice, but it was fun," Anderson said. "It was good to get out there, get some confidence and enjoy ourselves. We wanted to keep working on our game. Work on the little things that, going forward, will help us get to where we want to be.
"But I must say, the guys were taking advantage of the goalies with that glare on the ice."
Spezza feels that MacLean's coaching philosophy all season will only help the team in a tight series against the Rangers.
"I think Paul tries to get us to play a game that correlates well to playoff hockey," Spezza said. "We like to get pucks deep, bang the body and get in on the forecheck and that's why we feel comfortable playing playoff games. I don't feel like we have to change too much because that foundation we've been building as a team all season is how we want to play in the playoffs."
That's something that, perhaps, wasn't evident in years' past.
"Maybe we were a little more run-and-gun and scored a lot of goals in previous years," Spezza said. "You're not going to have a lot of high-scoring games in the playoffs, so we're used to playing tight games. We're not used to blowing teams out, so we're comfortable in those tight games."
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