The Ottawa Senators were beat 5-0 by the Philadelphia Flyers Tuesday night at the Canadian Tire Centre.
Head coach Paul McLean summed up the game with nine words.
“Twenty giveaways, five goals against — two on the powerplay,” he said after the lopsided loss.
He dictated the stats calmly, but the brief pause between the annunciation of each made it clear he wasn’t happy. The Sens had a 33-percent penalty kill against a team that, going into the game, was one of only four team with a powerplay efficiency under ten per cent. This is especially uncharacteristic as the Sens had only allowed 2 powerplay goals in 39 home opportunities before their tilt against the Flyers.
“I think everyone’s disappointed in the whole city,” McLean said. “We had been playing well and we got exposed by a team who was a little more desperate than we were.”
After winning three straight games and having points in their last five, the team’s performance against the Flyers was certainly questionable considering the minute line-up changes. Chris Phillips was sidelined because of “wear and tear”, and Craig Anderson, who, before Tuesday, had his name tied to the title of “number-one goaltender”, returned after being day-to-day with neck stiffness. He said his play wasn’t good enough.
“My job is to give the team an opportunity to win at the end of the night regardless of what happens during the game,” he said. “For me, I gotta look myself in the mirror and say “I gotta be better’”.
Anderson said he was little embarrassed that five goals were scored on him.
“I’m a little embarrassed, you know, I gave up five and that’s unacceptable,” he said. “When I play better, the guys around me play better and it just kind of snowballs.”
Chris Neil said it was more about what the team didn’t do.
“We weren’t all on the same page tonight,” he said. “We were sitting back too much, and it’s tough when you’re playing in your own end the whole night.”
Neil’s comments took shape on the ice Wednesday morning during practice as McLean had the team repeat the same break-out drill for more than 40 minutes.
The coach maintains the ‘tomorrow is a new day approach’.
“We have an opportunity to come on Friday, or come here tomorrow, and try to get ourselves sorted out again.”
It seems as though the team has gone through cycles of patting themselves on the back and feeling the need to re-group a night later. Tuesday’s loss was a bad one, but with pounding the powerhouse Detroit Red Wings 6-1 in the rear-view mirror, and being two points out of a wildcard position, they’ve got plenty to go forward with. One of two teams comes out of the Senators’ dressing room on a given night.
They know which one they truly are.