by Todd Anderson
Both defenceman Lawrence Nycholat and winger Oleg Saprykin were on the ice this morning with their new team during the Ottawa Senators' optional skate at Scotiabank Place.
Both players look forward to helping out the Senators for the rest of the season.
"There's always pressure to do well, to help your team (reach) goals," Saprykin said after the skate. "When you have pressure, I think you play better."
Nycholat, who has relatives residing in nearby Gatineau, Que., says he'll do all that he can to chip in on the blueline.
"I'm looking to contribute in any way they ask me to. This is a great team here, one of the top teams in the league. They have great defence here, and I'm excited about that."
Nycholat spoke about what stood out most while playing against the Senators with his former team, the Washington Capitals.
"(The Senators are) tough to play against because the forecheck and attack have lots of layers to it. You don't know who's going to come in first. The defence is mobile, and the way they move the puck in transition, it's hard to play against. They give the forwards chances to make plays."
Nycholat won't play against the Carolina Hurricanes tonight because Senators head coach Bryan Murray won't make any lineup changes on the blueline after a 4-2 victory over Carolina last night. Saprykin is expected to skate on one of the forward lines.
"He's going to play at this point, but I'm not positive (on what line)," Murray said this morning. "I have to talk to him to find out where he plays best."
Volchenkov picks opportune time for first goal in 85 games
Senators defenceman Anton Volchenkov, the NHL leader in blocked shots with 218, scored his first goal in 85 games last night to tie the game at 2-2 and spark a third-period comeback resulting in a win for Ottawa. He was asked today if scoring a goal means more to him than blocking shots.
"Teamwork is more important than goals or blocked shots," he quickly responded.
Volchenkov does admit, though, it did feel good to hit the back of the net.
"I've had lots of chances, and the sticks kept breaking. Schubie (Christoph Schubert) gave me a one-timer in the second period and the stick broke again. I got a new stick and Philly (Chris Phillips) gave me another one-timer, this time I scored. Every player likes to score. There are 19 games left, maybe I'll score a couple more."