TORONTO - Despite losing their fourth straight, the Ottawa Senators are at least seeing promising signs in the offensive department.
A late flourish gave the Senators three goals in the third period in their 5-4 loss on the road against the Toronto Maple Leafs.
While their defensive work left a lot to be desired, the team left Air Canada Centre pleased with their offensive output.
“We threw everything we had an even had some good chances to tie it up but we kind of put ourselves in a tough hole with three goals down,” said captain Daniel Alfredsson, whose fifth goal of the season made it 5-3 at 12:08 of the third.
“We know we’re a young team, we’ve just got to keep pushing and learn from the mistakes we make and learn for the next game.”
Wednesday night was only the fifth time this season that the Senators had scored four or more goals in a game.
For a team missing some key offensive components like Jason Spezza (back surgery), and Norris Trophy-winning defenceman Erik Karlsson (Achilles laceration), it's an opportunity for other players to step up.
They got that Wednesday from Zack Smith, with his first goal of the season, and Mika Zibanejad scoring for the second time in as many games. Ottawa will need that to continue if the Senators want to succeed with their depleted lineup.
“Zack Smith got a goal and (Zibanejad) scored again and a lot of good things happened as well as some not so good things,” said head coach Paul MacLean. “But at the end of the night I thought we were very competitive here on the road and we have to continue to push ourselves to continue to be better.”
Michalek had an assist on Smith's goal in his first game since missing 10 games with a knee injury and Stone made his NHL regular-season debut after being called up from Binghamton of the AHL on Tuesday.
The Sens still have a chance to salvage at least one win on this five-game road trip with one game remaining. They visit the Rangers in New York on Friday night.
And after scoring as many goals in one night against the Leafs as they had in the previous three games on the trip, they know they can put up the numbers on the road.
They just have to match that kind of output with a stout defensive effort on the other end.
“We know we’re not going to quit but we put ourselves in a tough hole today,” said Alfredsson. “We don’t execute well, especially in our own half in the first half of the game and we hung in there but at least we scored four goals.”