Senators get vote of confidence
OTTAWA — Unless you're from Ottawa or follow the NHL much too closely, there are plenty of names on the Senators' roster that aren't too recognizable.
It's not exactly a Who's Who. When there's a role call of NHL stars, you won't hear names like Pageau, Greening, Condra, Smith, Cowen, Methot, Turris and Benoit. Not yet anyway.
Stars? OK, Ottawa does have Jason Spezza, Daniel Alfredsson, Erik Karlsson and Craig Anderson, but it's a lineup on paper that doesn't stack up with the Penguins, who can roll out guys like Crosby, Malkin, Neal, Kunitz, Iginla, Dupuis, Letang and, at times, Fleury.
But don't sell the Senators short. They're not too hung up on the fact that they ranked seventh in the Eastern Conference during the regular season and they sure don't care much that the Penguins were tops.
“This is an opportunity you earn by the way you play in the regular season,” Senators coach Paul MacLean said. “Once you're in (the playoffs), it's been proven many times you have to play the game — the results of the game are what matters, not where you're seeded or what you did in the regular season.”
The team with the Twitter hashtag #peskysens clearly relishes the role of underdogs.
“If you try to pick a team that's favored, it's hard not to pick Pittsburgh in this series,” Alfredsson said. “We know we can play with them and we can beat them if we play really well. Can we as a young team go out there and disrupt them enough to get them off their game plan and have it work to our advantage? That's the challenge to it.”
With Sunday's 2-1 double-overtime win behind them, the Senators are focused on what Wednesday's Game 4 brings.
“At the end of the day, it's still 2-1 (in the series),” said Senators winger Colin Greening, who scored Sunday's game-winner and later had six stitches and some fiberglass pulled out of his face after being high-sticked in the second period. “We've got to win (Wednesday). My old coach (Kurt Kleinendorst) in Binghamton had a good saying: ‘With anything like that, you can enjoy it until your head hits the pillow, then the next day is a new day.' There's always going to be a new story every game. We've got to win (Wednesday) to get back in the series.”
Tim Baines is a freelance writer.