Senators credit total commitment to Boucher’s system for recent success

Senators reaping rewards of Boucher's system

OTTAWA — The Ottawa Senators are all in, and they are reaping the rewards.

The Senators sit second in the Atlantic Division, are riding a three-game winning streak and are playing with a confidence rarely seen last season. Players say it’s a result of total commitment to head coach Guy Boucher’s system.

The Senators just wrapped up a three-game home stand and won two of three games by one goal, and even when trailing showed a resilience that was sometimes lacking earlier in the season.

“Guys have a total buy in,” said forward Alex Burrows, acquired from the Vancouver Canucks prior to the trade deadline. “You can have any system, but if you have total buy in from all 20 guys normally that’s a good sign and right now I can see in this lineup that everyone is believing in the system, everyone wants to compete in the system and we’re getting the right results.”

Monday night the Senators jumped out to a 2-0 lead against the Bruins and then gave up a goal with under two minutes remaining in the first period, but there was no sense of panic.

“Our team has grown over the last months,” said Boucher. “Very often we’d see our team change its way of doing things when we had a goal scored against us, when we didn’t start the game the right way, when we got a penalty we had a tendency to change what we do, and now you can see we’re staying steady with what we’re supposed to do. …There’s a real balance in our approach and we stay even keeled and it’s definitely paying off.”

Trade deadline additions have had an immediate impact on the Senators roster as wingers Viktor Stalberg, Burrows as well as Tommy Wingels who was acquired in late January, have fit seamlessly into the lineup and added much needed depth.

“We brought in experienced guys that know how to pay the price, how to manage different parts of the game and all they needed to do was figure out how we play, and since they’re that smart and that experienced they really eased themselves into our team and the way we play and our identity,” Boucher said. “Actually, they enhanced our identity and that’s what we’re looking for.”

For much of the season Boucher didn’t have a trustworthy fourth line. Now the Senators are consistently rolling four lines.

With Chris Neil sidelined with a broken finger and Curtis Lazar traded to the Calgary Flames Ottawa’s fourth line is comprised of Stalberg, Wingels and veteran Chris Kelly.

The trio averages in excess of ten minutes per game, allowing other players to have distinct roles and not get over-worked in games.

“I think it can keep everyone more fresh, opposed to double shifting guys which makes you tired a lot quicker,” said forward Mike Hoffman. “Our fourth line has been great the last couple games. They’ve been out there not just putting the puck in the net, but playing hard physically and shutting down the other team as well.”

The Senators head out for a three-game road trip where all three opponents, Dallas, Phoenix and Colorado, sit outside the playoff picture and realize they can ill afford to take them lightly as the battle in the Eastern Conference remains tight.

With 18 games remaining and just six at home, the Senators know success on the road will be imperative to locking down a playoff spot.

“Whether you’re on the road or at home you’ve got to find a way to play your game, you’ve got to find a way to get points,” said defenceman Dion Phaneuf. “It’s a tough schedule all year, it doesn’t let up. Whether we’re at home or we’re on the road we have to find a way to build our game, continue to get points and continue to move forward and move up.”

Lisa Wallace, The Canadian Press

Just Posted

Okanagan table tennis players thrive at 55+ games

Nine Salmon Arm residents were tough to beat at the games in Kelowna last week

Lakeview Water System users in West Kelowna under water quality advisory

A water quality advisory has been issued for parts of West Kelowna.

Bicycle incident on Daimer Drive in West Kelowna

One man has been taken to hospital

Kikinee Salmon Festival returns to Kelowna for another year

The Kikinee Salmon Festival is taking place this Sunday at Mission Creek Regional Park in Kelowna.

Bulls on parade down Glenmore

A small bull ran into traffic on Glenmore Road in Kelowna earlier this morning

‘It’s almost surreal’: South Okanagan fire chief, sidekick Sammy recap rescue mission in Bahamas

Chief Larry Watkinson and Sam the disaster dog spent 8 days assisting a search and rescue team

Defense says burden of proof not met in double murder case against Victoria father

Closing statements begin in trial for man accused of killing daughters Christmas 2017

B.C. dog breeder banned again after 46 dogs seized

The SPCA seized the animals from Terry Baker, 66, in February 2018

Surrey mom allegedly paid $400,000 for son in U.S. college bribery scam

Xiaoning Sui, 48, was arrested in Spain on Monday night

Three dogs found shot dead in Prince George ditch

The three adult dogs appeared to be well cared for before being found with gunshot wounds, BC SPCA says

Vancouver police could be using drones to fight crime by end of year

The police department has already purchased three drones, as well as three others for training

B.C. party bus company to be monitored after 40 intoxicated teens found onboard

Police received tip teens and young adults were drinking on party buses and limousines in Surrey

Kootnekoff: Wrongful dismissal award against B.C. law firm

A recent case from a Vancouver-based law firm

Okanagan ski racer chosen for grant in end game

Makena Kersey, 18, has called it a career following a gruesome leg injury, but story inspires grant

Most Read