KANATA, Ont. — Senators’ coach Paul MacLean knows success in the playoffs takes individual players raising their game, but when scanning his team for a possible hero, he points the finger directly at a group.
“We need somebody, and I think it’s our power play to step up and get us some goals,” MacLean said Tuesday at Scotiabank Place as he prepared his team for Wednesday night’s Game 4 of its opening-round playoff series against the Rangers. “It’s been a big part of us winning games in the regular season and we need to get it to produce something more.”
MacLean’s team is down 2-1 in the best-of-seven series, and with the shift back to Madison Square Garden for Saturday’s Game 5, he knows evening the ledger is paramount if they want a chance to advance to the Eastern Conference semifinals. Yet the Rangers’ relentless penalty killing has made it tough for his man-advantage, ranked 11th in the NHL during the regular season, to gain any momentum. It is 1-for-10 in the series.
“The Rangers are checking pretty close,” MacLean said, also noting his team has just five goals in three games. “I think we need to handle the pressure, first of all. Right now, we’re a little bit panicky with it.”
The failure of the Senators’ power play also has led to their top scorers not producing in the quantity they’re used to. Between the three players on their top line — Jason Spezza, Milan Michalek and Colin Greening — they have a combined two assists.
“Special teams is huge in the playoffs,” Ryan Callahan said. “I think our PK has stood in there tall and come up big against a really good power play.”
When the Rangers’ lines had to be shuffled in Game 3 because of Carl Hagelin’s three-game suspension, Callahan was reunited with the two teammates he played the majority of last season next to, Brandon Dubinsky and Artem Anisimov.
“It’s like muscle memory, we played together so long,” Callahan said. “We complement each other in the style of game we playIt’s not anything different. So it’s pretty [easy] to get back with them.”
Dubinsky also said the game he and Callahan play is predicated on getting the puck deep.
“We have to have the puck below the hash and we need all the lines to contribute,” he said.
Senators’ captain Daniel Alfredsson did not participate in the morning skate and is likely to miss his second consecutive game after suffering a concussion on a hit from Hagelin in Game 2.
Alfredsson did skate before Monday’s 1-0 Rangers’ win in Game 3, but MacLean said between the morning and game time he encountered “a setback.”
“We’re not replacing Daniel Alfredsson. We don’t have that player,” MacLean said. “But everybody that’s in the lineup can step up and make a difference.”
Rangers, Ryan Callahan, Paul MacLean, MacLean, Daniel Alfredsson, power play, Carl Hagelin, Milan Michalek, Jason Spezza