|Peter Regin won't suit up against the Philadelphia Flyers tonight, but he's hopeful that he can regain his scoring touch when he eventually is called up to return to the Senators lineup (Getty Images).
It can be a difficult thing to define, especially when it remains so utterly elusive.
But whatever it is, Peter Regin
knows it easily can turn on a dime. It is his source of constant hope as he waits for his turn to return to the Ottawa Senators lineup. The Danish forward will be a spectator again tonight when his teammates make their final appearance of the regular season at the Wells Fargo Center against the high-flying Philadelphia Flyers (7 p.m., Sportsnet Sens, Team 1200).
For the second straight game, head coach Cory Clouston has elected to dress seven defenceman and will play with only 11 forwards against the Flyers, one shy of the traditional minimum. But after the strong effort he saw his team turn in against the Anaheim Ducks in a 2-1 loss Tuesday night Clouston decided to stick with what's working. All of which will relegate Regin to a pressbox seat for a second straight game.
"(Regin) has to wait for an opportunity, basically," Clouston said following the Senators' pre-game skate earlier today at the Wells Fargo Center. "If our guys continue to play as well as they did the last time, it's going to be tough for him to do that. But when he gets in the lineup, he's going to have to be stronger on the puck and generate more offence — I think he's got one assist in his last 26 games. He's had an opportunity several times (this season) to play in a top-six position and just hasn't made the best of it."
Regin admits he's spent plenty of time trying to analyze his play, but believes it simply comes down to confidence — or, more accurately, a lack of it.
"When you're not (confident), you're sometimes half a second slow and ... you look like you're not in (the play). I think that might be the case with me," he said. "Trust me, nobody wants to play more or better than I do. I want to play better. It's not (happening) because I don't want to. Hopefully, it'll turn around.
"It's easy (to lose confidence). It's a long season and it takes so little. If you lose it and you don't get to play or you can't score for awhile ... you play 10 games within no time. So in three weeks, you can feel like you haven't scored forever. But at the same time, if you can get in and score two goals or whatever, then it's all back again."
As for the rest of his teammates, Clouston saw a high-energy, spirited group during the pre-game warmup today and believes that'll translate over into tonight's matchup with the Eastern Conference-leading Flyers (30-11-5). He was also heartened by the performance he saw out of his charges Tuesday against the Ducks, another big, physical team.
"We've got to make sure we play the same type of game we played against Anaheim," said Clouston. "We got pucks in on the forecheck and generated numerous opportunities. We've just got to bury our chances.
"The energy level was real high today and the confidence level, to me, is as high as it's been in awhile considering what we've gone through, so that's a positive as well."
Captain Daniel Alfredsson
said a strong start today is a must for the Senators (17-23-7), who stand 13th in the East but have been a better team away from home this season for the most part. The chore got tougher when the Flyers confirmed hulking defenceman Chris Pronger will return from the injury list after being sidelined for 13 games with a broken foot.
"The energy and the feeling we had throughout (Tuesday's) game ... definitely, we've got to bring it tonight if we want to have a chance to win. It's a tough building to play in and you've got to be ready to play right from the beginning. They're going to come out hard and if you can weather the storm early, you can work yourself into the game. That's our mindset tonight." Around the boards
Brian Elliott, who has a 4-1-0 lifetime record against the Flyers, gets the start in goal tonight ... Ottawa had won three straight against the Flyers before dropping a 5-1 decision back on Nov. 15 at the Wells Fargo Center ... Included in that Ottawa streak: a 2-0 shutout by Elliott on Dec. 10, 2009 ... The Flyers went 9-4-0 in Pronger's absence ... Defenceman Brian Lee is in line to suit up for his 100th National Hockey League game on Friday night, when the Senators face off against the Montreal Canadiens at Scotiabank Place (7:30 p.m., Sportsnet East, Team 1200).