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Working for consistency

by Staff Writer / Ottawa Senators
Senators alternate captain Chris Phillips thinks the current lineup has what it takes to be one of the top teams in the NHL.

by Todd Anderson

As the Ottawa Senators look forward to their next game on Saturday against the Stanley Cup-champion Carolina Hurricanes, head coach Bryan Murray remains confident his team will be able to start playing with more consistency. Coming off three blowout victories last week, the club has lost two straight games.

"We're helping (the players), we're talking, we're showing video on a regular basis," Murray says. "We went into the game (Tuesday's 4-2 loss against the Montreal Canadiens) with a great atmosphere in the room. We had a solid first period but we gave up a short-handed goal and we weren't too good after that."

On Wednesday, Murray ended practice with a grueling skate for his players.

"It was a combination of making them skate, and No. 2 as a conditioning cycle to get them back on track again," Murray said afterwards. "Every time you lose games, a coach looks for one way or another to send a message. They were 45-second shifts (during the skate at Wednesday's practice), and that's what we want them to do in games. I think they each did eight shifts. That's about half a game for most guys. I think we have a good group of guys here, and we will get it together."

Goaltender Ray Emery said afterwards that he thinks the players can rally together after a tough practice like Wednesday's.

"It was a pretty positive day for us. We worked hard in practice. Those type of days can be bonding days. We want to work hard to get ourselves (playing more consistently) and I think you saw that (on Wednesday)."

While the Senators currently sport a record of 5-6-0, captain Daniel Alfredsson knows his team can be much better.

"We've shown we can play good hockey when we all play together. We just have to get better as each day goes on here. "

Senators defenceman Chris Phillips wants to see a full-game effort from the club.

"You can't expect to show up sporadically and win games. You can't expect to win when you play 20 or 30 minutes a game," Phillips says. "We've won games, but we've just been inconsistent.

"When you look back at the end of the season and say if we got two points here, or two points there, we don't want to be one of those shoulda, coulda teams. We feel we have the group here that can turn things around. It's got to start now."

Fewer than 400 tickets remain for Saturday's game against Carolina. To purchase tickets, click here. To purchase other single-game tickets, click here. For more information on season tickets, click here.

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