Giroux on sliding Senators: 'We definitely need to figure this out'
With a conference-low 17 games played, the Senators have six games in hand on the Tampa Bay Lightning, who sit nine points ahead of them inside the playoff picture. With 15 games on the schedule in December, starting Friday against the Columbus Blue Jackets, Ottawa is running out of time to get its season on track.
“They came out heavier than us,” forward Claude Giroux said of the Panthers loss. “They won more battles, and in the first 10 minutes it was all them. And they came out hard and we didn't. That's the bottom line.
“I want to win hockey games. We need to, I don’t know. ... It’s really tough to say right now because a lot of things happened tonight. And you know, it's frustrating because we know we can be better. We definitely need to figure this out.”
“It's not just one person, it's just our whole group. We just need to be better,” captain Brady Tkachuk added. "There's always lessons to be learned in each game, and I still have all the faith in what we're doing here. I have faith in our group and our support staff, and I know we're going to turn the ship around here.”
Monday night mayhem
Frustrations for the Senators boiled over in the third period of Monday's loss, with 12 players between the two teams receiving 10-minute misconducts in the final 10 minutes.
Senators head coach D.J. Smith agreed with the notion his team showed a lack of maturity in the loss.
“Yeah, yeah, that’s fair,” Smith said. “You know, I just thought at 3-0 we came up with some really good shifts. We were aggressive. We were, you know, in the game, lots of game left and then we take a five-minute major and that takes you right out of the game.”
“As the head coach you realize you're throwing away an opportunity,” he added. “You have to just keep playing. And, you know, I don't know what went on between periods. We came out, I thought ready, and then you know, that final whatever it was, after we took the five-minute major you don't give yourself a chance to win and you can't play like that in the NHL.”
Key stretch starts Friday
Giroux was ready to turn the page after Monday's loss with four days off before the schedule heats up on Friday with 12 games in 23 days before the holiday break.
“We definitely fell tonight,” said Giroux. “But saying that, you know, sometimes the best way to learn is to fail really big, so we can lose 3-2 and not learn from it. But you know, we lose the way we did [Monday] and we have to learn from it.
"So, we're gonna stick together here. There's no doubt we're gonna come out and play hard on Friday. I think that’s when our next game is, and, you know, we're going to stick together no matter what here. So, I'm not worried about that.”
Following Friday's visit to Columbus, the Senators host the Kraken on Saturday before four games against current Eastern Conference playoff teams – the New York Rangers, Toronto Maple Leafs, Detroit Red Wings and Carolina Hurricanes.