With six goals and three assists, Ottawa Senators forward Bobby Ryan is off to the fastest start of his professional career.
Traditionally, Ryan said, he’s a slow starter, but he made some changes in the way he prepared for the season in an attempt to boost his output.
First, he knew he had been pencilled in to play with Jason Spezza on the top line, so he thought about where his chances might come from in that scenario.
Then he spent time shooting from those areas — areas he hadn’t worked on before.
“I just figured that I was going to get opportunities playing the half-wall opposite Spezza, playing in the middle, so I spent a lot of time working on those opportunities,” he said.
Indeed, that’s where one of his two goals came from on Wednesday night, when he ripped one past Red Wings goalie Jimmy Howard from the right circle.
He also spent more time on fitness
“I had that issue when I was 20, I guess, and haven’t had an issue with it since,” he said. “But I felt like I got off to slow starts because I felt like I was a step behind, so I worked more on acceleration, things like that this summer, and it’s paid off.”
AN UNLUCKY SEAT
During Wednesday’s 6-1 win over the Red Wings, Ottawa’s Clarke MacArthur and Daniel Alfredsson lined up next to each other and could be seen sharing a laugh.
MacArthur, who has taken 25 shots but is still looking for his first goal of the season, shared that conversation on Thursday: “He just said, ‘Hey, Mac, how are you?’ and I said ‘I could be better. They gave me your stall in Ottawa and I haven’t scored yet.’
“He said, ‘they’ll come,’ so it was funny. I was laughing, too.”
ANDERSON AGAINST THE DUCKS
Craig Anderson will be back in net on Friday against the Ducks.
Coach Paul MacLean wasn’t ready to say if there will be any lineup changes, but he noted that after Wednesday’s 6-1 victory in Detroit, it is tough to take anyone out of the lineup.
Chris Phillips was the only player not to practise on Thursday. He had a maintenance day, but he is expected to play on Friday.