Senators exude confidence after stirring Game 3 victory
OTTAWA — The Ottawa Senators were 28.6 seconds away from being buried — as in stick a fork in them, they're done.
Now, a day after somehow, some way pulling off a stunning 2-1 double-overtime win over the Penguins on Sunday night, the Senators feel very much alive.
They've already put aside the victory, which saw a bloodied Colin Greening fire a game-winning shot past Tomas Vokoun. The heroics were set up when 40-year-old ageless wonder Daniel Alfredsson, their captain, scored with his team short-handed and goalie Craig Anderson on the bench for an extra attacker.
It all seems surreal that the Senators find themselves down, 2-1, in a best-of-seven series dominated by the Penguins, who were turned aside again and again by Anderson on Sunday.
The focus has already shifted to Wednesday's Game 4 with the Senators, the lone Canadian team remaining in the chase for the Stanley Cup, looking to even the series.
“The players have done the work, it's up to them to celebrate and it's up to me to keep them from celebrating for too long and get ready for the next game,” Senators coach Paul MacLean said. “We understand that we're the last Canadian team that's playing. But we just try to worry about the Pittsburgh Penguins and not get too caught up in that.”
Jason Spezza, who returned to the Ottawa lineup after missing four months following back surgery, has watched much of the season from his couch ... or from the floor while stretching. Monday, he was wearing a T-shirt with the words #peskysens. It's a trending Twitter hashtag that sums up what the Senators have been all season.
“It's a great mantra for our team,” said Spezza. “It really reflects on how we've been this year and how there's been a never-say-die attitude in the room. We're a gritty team that doesn't give up. We always feel like we're in the game. We talk a lot about playing the full game and sticking to our structure, and you get rewarded for it. Games like (Sunday night) are a product of that.”
“We've been doubted all year,” said Anderson. “We find ways to win, and they aren't always pretty. We play for the crest on the front. You can change the names and numbers on the back, but we still find ways to win. Everyone's contributing. We didn't feel good after Games 1 and 2, and I'm sure they feel the same way after Game 3.”
Tim Baines is a freelance writer.