OTTAWA -- The Ottawa Senators dug themselves out of a big hole with a spectacular stretch run to make the 2015 Stanley Cup Playoffs.
Three games into their Eastern Conference First Round series against the Montreal Canadiens, the Senators are down in another hole and need to win four straight games to keep their season going.
Ottawa captain Erik Karlsson put as positive a spin as he could on what he and his teammates need to accomplish to overcome Montreal's 3-0 series lead in the wake of the Canadiens' second straight overtime win, 2-1 in Game 3 at Canadian Tire Centre on Sunday.
"We take it one game at a time, and even though we've been playing better and better as the series goes on, we still haven't found a way to win a game and that's what we have to do now," Karlsson said. "It's do-or-die and we only focus on Wednesday and see what happens."
The Senators were 14 points out of a playoff spot when they began a season-ending 23-4-4 run that earned them the first wild card from the East.
"It definitely hardened us," defenseman Mark Borowiecki said. "We've been through the wringer to get here. This playoff spot didn't just fall into our laps overnight. We had to work our tails off to get so it's a situation we're obviously familiar with. You don't want to be in it, I'm not going to say we've got them right where we want them or anything like that, that would just be stupid, but for us it's just a matter of playing with desperation."
Four teams have come back to win a best-of-7 series after losing the first three games, including the 2014 Stanley Cup champion Los Angeles Kings, who did it last year in the Western Conference First Round against the San Jose Sharks.
The feat was first accomplished by the Toronto Maple Leafs against the Detroit Red Wings in the 1942 Stanley Cup Final. The New York Islanders overcame a 3-0 series deficit against the Pittsburgh Penguins in the 1975 Quarterfinals, and the Philadelphia Flyers did it against the Boston Bruins in the Eastern Conference Semifinals in 2010.
Senators coach Dave Cameron had a simple message for his players in his postgame press conference.
"Day off [Monday], you've got to win a game," Cameron said.
Karlsson was asked if Cameron had spoken to the team about maintaining their confidence heading into Game 4.
"No, I think we feel great in here," Karlsson said. "And as I've said 15 times now, one game at a time. We just focus on Wednesday and go from there."
Cameron will have to decide whether to give goalie Craig Anderson a second straight start in Game 4, or go back to rookie Andrew Hammond, who lost a pair of one-goal games in Montreal after leading Ottawa to the playoffs with a 20-1-3 record during the final two months. Anderson made 47 saves.
"I'm happy that's not my job, it's not my decision," Borowiecki said. "They're both great goaltenders. They've both done a lot to get us here. [Hammond] did a lot down the stretch to get us here. [Anderson] played awesome here, gave us a good chance to win, so whoever is in Wednesday we have confidence in and it comes down to a complete team effort."