|Delayed by just more than a month, Florida Panthers head coach Jacques Martin will finally get to coach against his former team, the Ottawa Senators, at the Corel Centre tonight (7:30 p.m.). |
Delayed by just more than a month, Florida Panthers head coach Jacques Martin will finally get to coach against his former team, the Ottawa Senators, at the Corel Centre tonight (7:30 p.m.).
The Panthers were scheduled to host the Senators on Oct. 22 but that match was postponed due to Hurricane Wilma.
Martin, the NHL's coach of the year in 1999, spent nine seasons coaching the Senators. After the 2003-04 season, he was replaced with current coach Bryan Murray.
For many of the Senators players, including Chris Phillips, the two men have been their only coaches during their NHL careers.
"(The game) is going to be interesting for myself," Phillips said. "There's definitely a lot of media hype around it. You look at Jacques' tremendous record. We accomplished a lot, but we would've liked more in the playoffs. He always had good things to say and gave us a lot of respect."
The Panthers roll into Ottawa as losers of their last nine games. Sitting third in the Southeast Division, the team suffered heartbreak on Tuesday, losing to the surging Montreal Canadiens 4-3 in overtime.
Sens captain Daniel Alfredsson expects the Panthers to be extra motivated tonight after their recent hardships.
"The important thing for us is to not turn the puck over. If we don't do that, we have a good chance to win. We know (Martin's) coaching style, and he knows how we play. His teams always work hard. He's always very well organized and everything was well planned. There's a lot of hard work from the players and himself."
Coming off their third loss of the season, a game in which the power play struggled with a 0-8 performance, the Senators are looking to regain their stride as well.
"We've got to pick up our socks," said veteran Mike Fisher. "We want to play well, and I'm sure they're going to have the extra motivation to beat us."
Murray said it's important for his team to not take the Panthers lightly.
"There's a bit of pressure on them because of their losing streak. Players will be emotional and you'll probably see Jacques on the bench yelling a bit," said Murray with a wink.
During the pre-game skate on Thursday, Murray had the players working on the power play for a stretch. The coach was asked afterwards if the power play problems have been fixed.
"We talked about it today and now we hope to get some response. We had a highlight, or lowlight, package for (the players). We started to talk about them doing particular things. We hope to have a play or two they can revert to."
While the Senators held their pre-game skate at the Corel Centre, the Panthers took to the ice at the University of Ottawa.
Dominik Hasek will start in goal tonight against the Panthers.