The Ottawa Senators pulled out a 3-2 win over the Columbus Blue Jackets at Canadian Tire Centre on Saturday night to bring their record to 4-1-0 early in the season. Sens head coach Paul MacLean offered his thoughts on the performance after the game. Here's what he had to say...
On what they're doing right to start the season:
We're finding a way to win and we're finding a way to be entertaining while we're doing it. The bottom line is we're finding a way to win and we're building momentum as a team, especially here at home where we've had some struggles. We're learning how to do it again, we're learning how to win, we're learning how to put the game away. Tonight at the end they had some opportunity in our end but we were there blocking shots and we were competitive and that's a good thing for our team.
On the second period time out:
We were just trying to get everybody to settle down and take a deep breath. It's an even game, I thought we were getting ourselves too far apart as far as our forwards and our defencemen and we needed to take an extra minute to get that direction to our group, as opposed to trying to do that on the bench when we're in the middle of it when the play is going on. It's an opportunity to take a deep breath and actually give them a point of reference and some direction that we hoped would help them.
On what Hoffman brought beyond speed:
Speed is one of his big assets, but his skill level, I thought he showed great skill level with the puck tonight. The goal he scored, I just ended up seeing it at the end and that was a pretty good goal when you go shelf in any league. Hoff came in, he's been a patient guy, working hard, he had a good training camp and he gave a good account of himself tonight.
Robin was very solid. He was an NHL goalie. He made some real solid saves, he was composed in the net and I thought he gave our team a lot of confidence.
On what the team needs to work on moving forward:
Our execution with the puck and sticking to the structure of our team are big things and all kinds of stuff inside of that. For the most part we're finding ways to win and we're competitive when we do it and that's a good sign.
On the resilience to this point:
This team is learning. Every year you have to learn how to win and the things you need to do to do it and I think we're doing the little things better. We need to do them better and better and better moving forward. You never feel like you're totally in control of a game in this league but we need to get to a point — our start was better tonight, the second was an issue for us or part of it, anyways — for us, controlling momentum and learning how to get it slowed down to get it slowly going back our way is something we've struggled with. The momentum swings, we kind of go with it instead of doing things to help keep us going with or to slow it down for the opposition.
On Hoffman's ability to play fast:
I think he showed it tonight, he was in on scoring opportunities, drew penalties, a penalty shot and ended up scoring a goal. That's what speed does. Speed in this game is a big part of it and when you have it it's a great thing to have. I'm jealous. I never had any.
On playing young players late in the game:
I'm not sure if we're going to rely on them in the next game but tonight they were good players and we have always said that the best players play. You evaluate the game as it goes on and at the end of the game we had the best players in the game. I thought those guys were the most competitive guys, they played with the most composure and that's what we needed at the time and that's why we had them on the ice. The team should win, not the individual.