We spoke with Sens forward Zack Smith after this morning's skate and prior to hosting the Detroit Red Wings tonight.
His thought on his increased goal production:
If anything I've improved a lot on my shot from last year. I'm not shooting any more and my shot totals aren't up from any other year but you just get a couple and get some confidence and they start going in for you. You just start shooting with a little more confidence. For example, if you score last game and the next game you get an opportunity in the slot...you know that there's a pretty good chance that you're going to score.
On remaining healthy this season:
Last year was a very frustrating year and it got off to a not very good start personally and getting injured 37 games into the season and then missing the majority of it was tough and frustrating. Going in to this summer, it was a little more motivation for me to play well. You start second-guessing yourself a little bit and you're wondering if you still have it or if an injury like that (wrist) is going to effect your career. I had a lot to prove coming into this year and I'm just playing with a little more motivation.
On the team's improved penalty kill as of late:
Like anything you can get streaky in both ways. Whether it's scoring goals or having goals scored against you...it's a funny game that way. I think our penalty kill for a bit was lacking confidence if anything. We weren't getting the job done. That's what cost us for a lot of this season was giving up too many goals on the PK but we sat down a couple of weeks ago and had a long meeting about it, made some changes and I think it's definitely helped.
On gaining confidence as a team:
Guys can score goals and play with confidence and find success individually but the only way for a team to gain confidence is to win games. For awhile we were playing some good hockey but just coming up short and not getting the bounces that come when you're feeling confident. It's a lot to do with confidence and I think it was a huge step last game just winning two in a row. We were having problems following up big wins so winning last game and putting two together was the right step. The only way you're going to gain confidence as a team, like I said, is winning.
On counteracting Detroit's fast, skilled play tonight:
We have to play with speed. We talked about the only way to defend speed is with speed. When we're being predictable within our team, moving the puck behind their D and playing quick it's hard for them to use their speed. They like to turn back and create a lot of energy. If we're up on them and being the aggressors then that kind of puts them on their heels. That's when we're going to have success.