by Todd Anderson
Ottawa Senators head coach Bryan Murray had a simple message for his team after a sloppy 7-6 overtime loss to the Buffalo Sabres in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference semi-final.
"Just play the way we're capable of playing," Murray responded when asked what he shared with his players following the series opener. "It's a team game. You have to trust each other."
While the coach said he expects a better effort from his club tonight, he also credited the Sabres for their role in causing some of Friday night's mistakes, especially in one particular area of the game.
"One thing we know is if you give them a 2-on-1, they're really, really good. If they're not the best, they're one of the best. We have to respect what they have and adjust accordingly."
More focus right off the start is one priority.
"(Goaltender Ray Emery) has to get a stop early into the game to feel good about himself," Murray said. "We can't have another tap-in goal 10 seconds or whatever into the game."
Murray was not putting all the blame on his rookie goaltender. He wants to see improved play from the entire lineup. Defenceman Chris Phillips agrees everyone has to pick up their play.
"We hung (Emery) out to dry a couple of times. We were so close to the win. It's still burning a little bit. We have to be able to take that energy to the ice. We're a pressure team. We have to go out and do the things that made us successful all year."
For Emery, he's moved on from Game 1.
"We've had a chance to clear the air on what happened. We're looking to start fresh here."
Brian Pothier (upper body injury) will return and replace Christoph Schubert on the blue-line tonight. Forward Chris Kelly will wear a visor after receiving a cut to his face from a puck in Game 1.