OTTAWA - The Ottawa Senators know that every NHL season comes with highs and lows, and how they handle them will determine their level of success.
So far the Senators have struggled to deal with a season that has seen a coach fired and the team fall short of expectations. The result is that the Senators now finds themselves fighting to get back into the playoff picture.
Sitting 11 points back of the final playoff spot, the Senators know it's time to put aside all the distractions that have led them to this point.
"You can be guilty of getting too high and too low," said winger Bobby Ryan. "Right now with the position we're in it's a roller coaster. If you lose it's the end of the world and if you win there's some hope and light at the end of the tunnel for you. I think we've got a pretty good group of guys that are calling the shots and making sure guys aren't too up or too down."
Every time the team seems to turn a corner it takes a couple of steps back, leaving Ryan unwilling to declare the team on the right path following a 7-2 win over the Arizona Coyotes on Saturday afternoon.
"I don't want to say yes," said Ryan, who has 16 points in his last 13 games. "We feel that way and we never quite seem to get there. I think the biggest part for us right now is not to have any kind of emotional letdown after a great third period.
"We've done a lot of good things and we've put a lot of good building blocks in place and you hope that we can kind of move forward with it."
The Senators take on the New Jersey Devils (19-22-9) Tuesday night and will be looking to win back-to-back games for the first time in a month.
"(Arizona) was a team that was struggling so we can't look too far ahead for ourselves," said winger Mark Stone. "We just have to string games together one at a time. We play in a lot of tight games and we're just letting bad mistakes at bad times cost us and we're getting a little discouraged on the bench. When things don't go our way we can't get discouraged and we just need to stay the course."
Robin Lehner will get his third straight start in goal as Craig Anderson remains sidelined with a hand injury.
Lehner earned the win against the Coyotes, his first since December 13th , and he said it was exactly what his confidence needed.
"I would be lying (if I said I didn't) I did enjoy it," Lehner said. "I think the start of the season, the first 10-12 games I was really happy where I was and then everything kind of went low downhill after my knee injury and I kind of got out of my game a little bit. I'm just happy the last few games that I started turning it around."
Head coach Dave Cameron knows a number of his players have struggled with expectations this season and understands each will deal with adversity differently, but he said it's important to maintain perspective.
"They have to learn that every game is not their career," Cameron said. "You can't play every game like it's your career and you're going to be perfect. You just have to let the game come to you sometimes knowing full well that you're going to make mistakes. It's what you do about the mistake and how often you make them."
With a roster laden with young players, Cameron said his message is simple when thing aren't going well.
"The solutions are within," Cameron said. "Don't start looking at luck, don't start looking at who your linemate is, don't start looking at the calibre of the refereeing, it's within. So when your game isn't going the way you think it should be don't look outside for your solution, your solution is within."