Senators anxious to fire up the power against Lightning

TAMPA, Florida – There were no grand surprises on the ice during the Ottawa Senators practice at the Tampa Bay Times Forum late Monday afternoon.

TAMPA, Florida – There were no grand surprises on the ice during the Ottawa Senators practice at the Tampa Bay Times Forum late Monday afternoon.

For almost the entire 60-minute workout, coach Paul MacLean put the players through power play drill after power play drill, aiming to produce something – anything – positive that can carry over to Tuesday’s game against the Tampa Bay Lightning.

The Senators are mired in a four-game losing slide – clinging to a four-point edge over ninth place in the Eastern Conference standings before Monday’s games — and they’ve come up empty on the current road trip, losing in Boston, Buffalo and Florida.

Not coincidentally, the power play has also produced zeroes across the board. They’re a combined 0-for-17 with the man advantage during the losing streak, including an 0-for-5 record in Sunday’s 2-1 loss to the Florida Panthers.

Monday’s workout showed that it remains a work in progress, too.

When asked about the obvious emphasis of practice, Daniel Alfredsson quipped, “the penalty killing?”

Alfredsson says the players recognize what they’re doing right. And wrong.

“We’ve done some good things on the power play,” he said. “We do a good job of entering the zone, getting some zone time (inside the opponents’ blue line), but the coaches and ourselves, too, we feel we need to generate more shots and traffic (in front of goaltenders).”

Alfredsson says the idea is to create second-chance opportunities.

“We’re not far off, but it’s an area where we need to improve, and especially on the road, it’s a big help if you get the power play working.”

For the third straight game, the Senators will be playing a team that won’t make the playoffs, but they certainly have no reason to be overconfident.

Goaltender Craig Anderson, who stopped 15 of 17 shots in his return to the net against Florida, will be back in goal. While MacLean hasn’t yet decided on any lineup changes versus Tampa, he won’t be breaking up the Calder Line of left winger Cory Conacher, centre Mika Zibanejad and right winger Jakob Silfverberg.

Conacher scored his first goal as a Senator against Florida and the line has been Ottawa’s best since Conacher joined the team in the trade deadline deal with Tampa for goaltender Ben Bishop.

Zibanejad, who had plenty of injury and confidence issues with Binghamton at the start of the 2012-13 season, is on a roll. He has at least one point in seven of his past eight games, for a total of 10 points in that span.

“I think it’s all about confidence,” he said. “Especially now that I’m playing with two great players. It’s working out fine. We’ve got good chemistry.”

“I feel like I know where to be and how to work and all that and you’re getting confidence with the points that are coming in, too. Unfortunately, we haven’t won these last four games, but I’m trying to help by putting up points or scoring goals.”

As a team, the Senators are doing everything possible to look ahead, stressing that the shot at making the playoffs is completing in their own hands as they prepare for the final 10 games of the regular season.

“We’re in a playoff spot and we’ve done a lot of good things to get here,” said Alfredsson. “It wasn’t given to us. We worked extremely hard. If we’re not going to make it, it will be because we weren’t good enough, not because we didn’t give it everything we have. Worse case scenario for us right now would be playing not to lose, to protect something.”

LEHNER PRAISES BISHOP: For six months, Robin Lehner fought Ben Bishop for playing time in Binghamton and in Ottawa. Yet even though Lehner’s life got easier when Bishop was traded to Tampa for Conacher last week, he remains good friends with Bishop. Lehner called his former goaltending partner when he posted a 45-save shutout over the Carolina Hurricanes in his first game with his new team last Thursday. “It’s nice playing Bish, he’s having success here,” said Lehner. “He played really well. I watched that game and it was really nice to see.” … Conacher is also anxious to play against his former team. “Hopefully, we can play for the whole 60 minutes and beat the team that I came from. It’s always nice to do something like that.” He says by scoring his first goal with the Senators against Florida, a bit of pressure has been removed.

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