|Forward Jason Spezza and the Ottawa Senators are working to get more production during power plays.|
by Todd Anderson
Ottawa Senators head coach Bryan Murray wants to see more discipline and focus from his team on special teams. Tonight's opponent, the New Jersey Devils, will be a good test. Devils GM Lou Lamoriello announced yesterday that he would replace Orleans, Ont. native Claude Julien behind the bench for the rest of the season and the New Jersey players could be playing with some extra jump tonight to try and impress their new coach.
"You know there's going to be an emotional charge for (the Devils)," Murray said after the Senators optional skate this morning. "I suspect they'll be pretty good defensively. They'll be willing to play a very patient game. I think we just have to play the way we've been playing and that is to try and get pucks to the net and keep the puck moving. You can't stop against New Jersey and expect them not to setup a trap against you. It will probably be a fairly low-scoring hockey game. They play their system."
The Devils are a potential first-round playoff opponent for Ottawa but Murray doesn't expect any momentum for the post-season would be gained with a win tonight. He's more focused on getting his team to play disciplined hockey.
"I don't think there's any messages at this time of the year that we don't know about already. I'll ask the players to enter the game focused and just play. We gave up a couple of chances the other night (against the New York Islanders on Saturday) because of taking too many penalties. We've got to talk about that further and hopefully at playoff time we'll realize you can't be giving up, five, six, seven power plays in a game."
The coach says there's also work to be done when the Senators are given power-play opportunities.
"That's one of the things we have to get back on the upswing. We had (the power play) going really well a couple of weeks back and now we're struggling to get pucks into the net. I thought we put on a great passing clinic in Long Island. We moved the puck 25 times but we didn't shoot. We've got all the passing skills down pat, now we just have to shoot a little more often."