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Allen Panzeri, CanWest News Service
Published: Monday, October 16, 2006

'Just get a goal, basically, is where we're at right now'

OTTAWA - It's a good thing the Calgary Flames are in the NHL.

Otherwise, the Ottawa Senators would have the ignominious distinction of owning the league's worst power play.

Not that much separates No. 29 Ottawa from No. 30 Calgary.

After another night of extra-man futility in Montreal on Saturday, the Senators have just one power-play goal in 30 attempts, for 3.33%. Worse, they've allowed two short-handed goals.

The Flames have one power-play goal in 33 attempts for 3.0%.

Ottawa's power play is almost comically bad, especially since it features some of the league's better players: Daniel Alfredsson, Wade Redden, Jason Spezza and Dany Heatley.

So it is with good reason that coach Bryan Murray will spend most of the next three days working on the power play.

If this ineptness continues --no one figures it will -- it is an almost certain ticket out of the playoffs.

Power plays are tricky creatures, though. They're a blend of X's and O's and intuition, held together by confidence. Finding the proper balance is sometimes a delicate task.

"We go over video all the time," Redden said. "It's helpful, but what we have to do is keep it simple: shoot and get someone in front of the net. We don't have to score a tic-tac-toe goal.

"We just have to get one."

The Senators have so little confidence at this point that they can't even second-guess themselves without making a mistake.

On only one of their five power plays against the Canadiens did the Senators move the puck fluidly. That resulted in three shots, albeit long ones: two from Redden and one from Tom Preissing.

On the other four, though, if they weren't letting the Canadiens have the better chances -- one led to a short-handed goal after Spezza lost the puck to Saku Koivu at centre ice -- they were barely getting set in the Montreal zone and generating only glancing shots on net.

The Canadiens did their part by being aggressive, attacking Ottawa defenceman as they left their zone and preventing them from setting plays in motion.

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