The Sens were in tough against the defending champs in Ottawa tonight but pulled through thanks to strong first and third periods to earn a 5-3 win. Goals from Erik Condra, Cody Ceci, Milan Michalek, Kyle Turris and Clarke MacArthur were the offence they needed while Craig Anderson was named first star in his return, stopping 46 shots. Sens head coach Paul MacLean offered his thoughts after the victory.
Here's what he had to say...
On the first period and the win:
Well any time you beat the Stanley Cup champions it's a big night for your team. I agree that the first period — I thought we came out and played. We knew that playing them we were going to play without the puck for maybe a lot of the game or the majority of the game so we had to make sure we played well without the puck, had good positioning. I thought we did that especially in the second period when they really came out and came after us, they made us play in our zone. It was a difficult second period but we stayed true to the defensive work we've been doing and we allowed our goalie to be the goalie. I thought that ended up being a big difference going into the third when we were still ahead.
He was well rested so he was ready for the onslaught that came in the second period I guess. I thought our defensive corps. did a good job of letting the goalie be the goalie and not having him worry about secondary opportunities or secondary passes. They just allowed him to get out and see the puck and get a chance to stop it. Even though we did play in our zone and a great compliment to them, they came out and got after us and we knew they were going to come out down 3-0 — they're the defending champions and you make sure you're ready for it and they came after us. Getting out of the period at 3-2 was huge for us.
On the balance of the lineup:
I think the addition of Mark Stone has really helped the offensive side of our game. He has been a factor offensively and defensively in every game he has played. He has really come in and played well and complemented Turris and MacArthur. The Spezza line got involved in the game as well, I thought they played well. Getting Mika back in the lineup helped as well to get some depth in our forward group to roll the lines out the door. For the most part the team was full marks for accepting the fact before the game that you were probably going to play without the puck a lot of the night and we found a way to do that well enough to get five goals.
On the difference in Stone's game:
I think he's stronger and more confident. I think the success that he had here just before the Olympic break when he was up he had a little taste of it and when he went back he really blossomed and took some big steps in Binghamton after the break and now he's ready for the opportunity. Right now he's a guy that he wants to play in the League and he's finding a way to be successful. That's from working hard on and off the ice... Once you're making plays at this level, it's quicker, it's faster and it was quick there tonight and he was keeping up with it. Once you make those plays and do those things and be able to hold people off, that's the biggest thing. When you can get yourself strong enough that you can put your arm out and hold someone off, it's amazing how much confidence that gives you as an NHL player to know that you're now strong enough to hold people off and still be able to have good position and make plays.
On the team's confidence:
I think we got some energy out of the shorthanded goal and I think accepting the fact in our pre-game meeting we said that we're not going to have the puck a lot. They're a team that's good in the faceoff circle, they play a puck possession type of game and we had to accept the fact that we were probably going to play a large part of the game without the puck so we had to do good things without the puck. I think that mindset gave us a bit more patience in our game and we were willing to play a bit in our zone knowing we had some confidence in that we were going to be able to limit their opportunities.
On the mindset tonight:
I think for us it was you know who you're playing. That's a big part of how we played tonight is you know who you're playing. We have to get ready for a team now who we also know who we're playing. That's our biggest concern.
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