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Senators don't have to look very far for inspiration

by Chris Stevenson

OTTAWA -- The Ottawa Senators can draw inspiration from a number of places as they try to become the third team in six years, and the fifth in NHL history, to come back from a 3-0 deficit in a best-of-7 Stanley Cup Playoff series.

The Senators, who face elimination Wednesday against the Montreal Canadiens in Game 4 of their Eastern Conference First Round series at Canadian Tire Centre (7 p.m. ET; USA, CBC, TVA Sports), can begin that search in their own backyard.

On Feb. 10, Ottawa was 14 points out of a postseason position, meaning it practically had to win out over the last two months of the regular season to make the playoffs. The Senators went 23-4-4 and earned the first wild card.

"The games when our backs were against the wall and we had to win, we won. You can take that as a positive," Senators forward Clarke MacArthur said Monday.

All three games in the series have been decided by a goal, the past two in overtime. The Senators can make a case they have deserved better.

"The series could be 3-0 the other way," said MacArthur, who scored the Ottawa goal in Game 3. "Or 2-1, a lot of combinations the way things have gone. It's tough to be down 3-0, but we're going to do what we have to do. Our goal is to get back to Montreal to have a chance to win a game in there."

The Senators will attempt to join the 2010 Philadelphia Flyers and the 2014 Los Angeles Kings as teams to climb out of a 3-0 hole in a best-of-7 series in the past six years. The Kings did so in the first round against the San Jose Sharks and went on to win the Stanley Cup.

"The end of the regular season was a pretty good leg for us to stand on as far as us believing in ourselves," Senators goaltender Craig Anderson said. "If you look back, Los Angeles was down 3-0 to San Jose, so it has been done in the past. Baseball, the (Boston) Red Sox, they were down 3-0 (and won against the New York Yankees in the 2004 American League Championship Series). Anything is possible. We have to do whatever it takes to win one game here and we'll live to fight another day."

The Senators turned to Anderson for Game 3 on Sunday after Andrew Hammond, who led the late-season run to the playoffs, gave up seven goals in the two games in Montreal. Anderson made 47 saves in the 2-1 loss in overtime.

Senators coach Dave Cameron did not announce his Game 4 starter on Monday.

Anderson said desperation seems to bring the best out of the Senators.

"That's been the case so far for the last few months," he said. "We had to win to keep giving ourselves a chance and we're in that situation."

Cameron isn't looking too far ahead, saying that was the approach that worked for the Senators during their remarkable run to end the regular season.

"It's not about stories or coming back from 3-0; it's winning one game," Cameron said. "That's all my stories are going to be: about one game. You know the old Chinese proverb: 'The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step.' That's what we've taken over our run, and that's what we'll continue to build on."

Ottawa forward Mark Stone assisted on MacArthur's goal and has three assists in the past two games. He's been playing with a microfracture and ligament damage in his right wrist since being slashed by Montreal defenseman P.K. Subban in Game 1.

The rookie forward said he once was down 3-0 in a series in junior hockey, and that didn't work out so well, but he expects things to be different with the Senators.

"It's a lot different playing in junior than it is in the NHL," he said. "Guys kind of throw in the towel in juniors and kind of want to get home. This group, I don't think we want to leave each other. We've had so much fun together, working hard together. We really found a bond that we don't want to end."

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