STANLEY CUP PLAYOFFS: Senators relish chance to tie series vs. Penguins
OTTAWA — After a win in Game 3, the Ottawa Senators are confident they can tie their series against the top-seeded Pittsburgh Penguins.
The Senators trail the Penguins 2-1 in their Eastern Conference semifinal series heading into tonight’s Game 4.
“The next game is the biggest game of the year, that’s the way it is,” Senators captain Daniel Alfredsson said. “No matter what happens you treat it (as the biggest game) and when that’s done you do the same for the next one.”
The Senators’ confidence in themselves and their ability to rebound has been the benchmark of their season. Ottawa’s 2-1 double-overtime win Sunday night was just another example. Alfredsson tied the game at 1-1 with 29 seconds remaining in regulation, and Colin Greening went on to score the winner at 7:39 of the second overtime.
The Senators know that the Penguins will want to rebound in Game 4 and try to take control of this series.
“We can’t stray too far from our game plan,” Ottawa defenseman Marc Methot said.
“Last game in particular we were so strong defensively and that’s a huge key. We know we’re going to get our opportunities offensively in their own zone.”
For the Penguins, getting a split in Ottawa means a chance to clinch the series back home.
“I think every game the more the series goes on the more important each one gets,” Penguins captain Sidney Crosby said. “You can see the desperation they have. They want to make sure it’s 2-2 going back to Pittsburgh and obviously we know the scenario is to come here and get one of two on the road and go back home with a chance to finish off the series would be great.
“I don’t think we have to change anything to do that. Our desperation’s been there, our compete level has been there and we believe that if we play the same way as last game and limit a few mistakes that we have a good chance of getting the win.”
Pittsburgh’s Matt Cooke knows that the Senators have likely gained confidence from their win.
“The playoffs are a race to four wins through seven games,” Cooke said. “We knew it wasn’t going to be easy. We knew the Sens weren’t just going to roll over and give us all four games. Whether we lose 2-1 or 7-1, it’s one loss and that’s the way we have to view it.”
The Penguins are confident and see no reason to panic or change their game plan.
“You have to believe in your game,” Crosby said. “I think teams who get here believe in their game at this point. Sometimes in the playoffs you lose a tight game and you trust that if you play the same way in the next one you have a chance to win.”
Senators defenseman Chris Phillips said much of the Senators’ success has come from their ability to stay grounded.
“You’d be absolutely beat if after every game that’s all you did was think about the last game or worry about the result of the next game or riding highs or being down if you lose the previous one,” Phillips said. “It’s all about the process and playing and on the days off not even thinking about hockey and removing yourself from it.
“Physically as much as mentally you have to be rested and get ready for the next game. As far as this group is, it’s not about getting caught up in the results, it’s going and playing the game the way we can and we’ll deal with the results at the end.”
Pittsburgh winger Jussi Jokinen could be back in the lineup tonight.