The post-game report: ‘Our most important period of the season’

Mostly, hockey players and coaches insist they don’t watch the standings.

The post-game report: ‘Our most important period of the season’
Jason Spezza (L) of the Ottawa Senators battles against Dion Phaneuf of the Toronto Maple Leafs during first period of NHL action at Canadian Tire Centre in Ottawa, December 07, 2013. (Jean Levac/Ottawa Citizen)

Mostly, hockey players and coaches insist they don’t watch the standings.

Jason Spezza didn’t deflect after the Ottawa Senators’ 4-3 shootout loss to the Toronto Maple Leafs at Canadian Tire Centre Saturday night, however.

This was a game the Senators couldn’t afford to lose in regulation and the players knew it.

“Definitely, we know we’re chasing these guys and a big group of teams, so we talked about how this was our most important period of the season and we responded well to that,” he said. “We knew the urgency.”

While their situation is still pretty dire — they’re eight points back of the Leafs, who hold the final Eastern Conference playoff spot and the web site sportsclubstats.com gives them a 13 per cent chance of making the playoffs — at least they have something positive to take from the loss.

LEAFS OUTSHOT, WIN OF COURSE

For the advanced stats set, the Toronto Maple Leafs are a bizarre anomaly. They give up a ridiculous amount of scoring attempts (Senators coach Paul MacLean estimated the Senators put about 90 pucks toward the net in all) and win far more than their fair share of games (this was the case last season as well).

Weird, eh former Toronto Maple Leaf Clarke MacArthur?

“See how long that lasts,” he said afterwards. “Give up 50 shots a game … your goalies are going to be pretty worn out. You’ve got to give them credit — their goalies are playing well.”

MACLEAN SPEAKS

PHOTO GALLERY

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