The Ottawa Senators showed flashes of the old Pesky Sens and back from a 3-1 deficit on Saturday night to force OT and a shootout, but ultimately couldn't solve Maple Leafs goaltender James Reimer in the skills competition and fell by a 4-3 score. Sens head coach Paul MacLean gave this thoughts on the game afterwards.
Here's what he had to say...
On tonight's game:
Well I think — I don't know if we got cheated on it — but I thought the game was there for us to have an opportunity for us after we got it tied up. I really was pleased with how we came back and came out in the third period and went after the game and didn't sit back, found a way to get the game tied up and found a way to get something out of the game. We're hoping that we dug in and got something out of the game and that could be a turning point heading into next week.
On the power play:
At a big moment in the game it stepped up and got us a goal two times tonight and that's what you want your power play to do is get you back in the game and get you momentum back on your side. I also thought our penalty killers did an outstanding job in the third period after we got the game tied up, taking another penalty and they killed it late in the game. I thought that was another good sign for the character of our team and the fact we were in it.
On tonight's standouts:
I thought Mika was very good, I thought Chris Neil's work tonight was — the leadership he showed was outstanding. Our defensive core as a group competed much better. We still had 13 giveaways in the game — they're not all theirs obviously — but I thought we allowed our team to play faster with our execution from the back end and, again, the power play guys and penalty kill guys did a good job.
On the team through 30:
Game 30 is in the books, we are what we are. Right now we're an inconsistent team that has a lot of potential for growth but a lot of opportunity to be better, but we're not going get better unless we come here and make a commitment to work every day to get better. I think that's the big goal we have setting forth now starting on Monday is we have to find a way to get better. We have to continue to practice harder, we've got to play harder, we've got to learn to execute with the puck better and we have to learn to become a much better and more consistent team.
On where the team can grow:
I think our execution and our sticking to the structure of our game. I thought in the first and third period we did a very good job of staying inside of it. The second period I thought we got a little distracted by the officials and some of the stuff Toronto did and got away from our game, but in the third we came back and played in that structure and that gave us the opportunity to get something out of the game. That's the potential I see for us with 52 games left to play is if we can keep doing that and believe in it, we're going to get some good results.
On staying composed after the second Toronto goal:
Well, it's hard, but as I've said often enough in this league or the game of hockey, what we think doesn't matter. It's only when the guy with the orange armband puts his arm in the air and calls it a penalty, that's the only time it's a penalty. We could argue and say player 43 had his stick in between our guys legs and he couldn't skate and he ended up falling down and they end up with a 2-on-1 going the other way, but the guy with the orange armband didn't put his hand up so it's not a penalty, it's a good defensive play.
On Zibanejad's impact:
Well we think, as we said the other day, Mika has been — we've been really pleased with how he has come up and played and the steps he has taken in the last 10 games has been noticeable, but at the same time we want to be tempering it and continue to work with him. He's still a support player on our team but he's providing some pretty good support.
On if there are plans to change the shootout shooters:
I could do that, yeah, I'm open to suggestions. In my experience the guys that have been there the most are the guys that end up having the most success. That's the reason we go with the people we go with but, as you say, maybe it might be time.
On the team's tentativeness with the puck:
I think we had 90 attempts at their net so we had the puck lots, we were good in the faceoff circle and we were physical throughout the game but, again, I don't disagree with you that we passed up opportunities to shoot. That's a team that struggles to win — give it to Johnny, he can shoot it better than me type of attitude. We'd like to see — I know there were a couple of times we had Bobby Ryan coming down the slot and he chose to make a pass, Kyle Turris chooses to make a pass. We'd like to see them shoot the puck, but we're not out there playing and it's a real small space they're playing in and they're reacting to a lot that's going on. We're still going to encourage them to shoot the puck.
On Turris and Ryan cooling off:
Well, I thought they created. Obviously they haven't scored and got on the sheet, but I felt they created some opportunities. Clarke's not with them and that made them a pretty good unit so we're going to reconsider all that stuff as well, but I think that Kyle — the two of them are in a little bit of a down cycle and we have to try to get them spruced up and get them skating again.
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