OTTAWA (AP) -The Buffalo Sabres find themselves in unfamiliar territory and one loss away from a disappointing end to the most successful season in team history.
The Presidents' Trophy winners fell into a deep hole in the Eastern Conference finals, a deficit only two teams have climbed out of in the playoffs. Buffalo is on the brink of elimination after a 1-0 loss to the Ottawa Senators in Game 3 on Monday night.
Only the 1942 Toronto Maple Leafs and the 1975 New York Islanders have won a best-of-seven series after trailing 3-0.
"Let's add 2007," Sabres coach Lindy Ruff said. "You've got to remain positive. If you look back at the start of the year, the number of games we won in a row. We put some good strings together."
The Sabres can't afford to get caught up in the numbers. They are focused only on Game 4, to be played Wednesday in Ottawa.
"I don't think we can look that far," Sabres captain Chris Drury said of winning four straight. "We need one good period to start and from there two periods and then hopefully a win."
This was the first time the Sabres were shut out all season, but they don't seem to have many answers against Senators goalie Ray Emery.
Registering only 15 shots didn't help Buffalo's cause, and neither did a sputtering power play. The Sabres are 0-for-18 on the power play in the series after failing on six attempts with the man advantage Monday.
"They've done an unbelievable job blocking shots all series," Drury said. "It seems like there are layers and layers of Senators in front of the net."
The Senators blocked 13 shots Monday for a total of 52 in the series, and have been especially diligent at blocking pucks when they are short-handed.
"It's all four guys trying to give them the least amount of time possible with the puck," Ottawa defenseman Chris Phillips said. "It's four guys working their butts off trying to look like five."
The Senators are more than pleased with the position they're in, but they're not looking past Game 4.
"We're not overly surprised with where we are, but at the same time we know there's lots of work to do," center Mike Fisher said. "We can't get too high. We haven't won the series yet. We just need to keep pushing."
The Sabres vow to push as hard as they can with their season is on the line. Buffalo led the NHL with 53 wins and 308 goals in the regular season.
"We're not going to win with (15) shots on net," Buffalo forward Derek Roy said. "We're in a situation now that we can't do anything about, so we just need to go out and prove that we're the best team."
Buffalo was just that during the regular season, capturing the Presidents' Trophy for the first time. None of that matters now.
"We just need to find a way," defenseman Brian Campbell said. "Just win one game."