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Senators sacrifice getting them back in series

by Chris Stevenson

OTTAWA -- In the eyes of Ottawa Senators coach Dave Cameron, the smile on the face of forward Jean-Gabriel Pageau says a lot about why the Senators are back in their Eastern Conference First Round series against the Montreal Canadiens.

After falling behind 3-0 in the best-of-7 series, the Senators have won two in a row and with a win in Game 6 at Canadian Tire Centre on Sunday (6 p.m. ET; CBC, NBCSN, TVA Sports) can force a seventh game at Montreal on Tuesday.

A big reason the Senators are back in this series has been their willingness to block shots and take hits to make plays.

After blocking another big shot by Canadiens defenseman P.K. Subban in the third period of the Senators' 5-1 win in Game 5 on Friday, Pageau limped to the bench and had that smile on his face.

Cameron said the willingness to make that kind of sacrifice has boosted Ottawa. The Senators have blocked 20 of Subban's shots.

Pageau has blocked 14 shots in the series to tie for the Senators lead.

"Some guys do it and do it well and other guys not so much, but that's just the nature of it," Cameron said. "It lifts a team for sure. It lifts the bench. He comes off and he's smiling. He's in pain and he's smiling. That's a huge contradiction, but it's winning hockey, we call it.

"The reason this team is on the roll it's on is they do that. From a coaching point of view, it's a sign your team is committed to winning at all costs. You see not just Pageau, but guys in front of P.K. Subban teeing it up and they are going to be there and they are going to continue to be there. It's one of those intangibles that goes into winning. It's not something you read about in the paper. You read about the goals and the assists and things like that. It's every bit a part of winning as the goals and the assists."

After Game 5, Subban said of his shot and Pageau's willingness to block it: "It's only going to get harder as the series goes on, so I wish him the best of luck."

Pageau wasn't backing down Saturday.

"Whatever [Subban] says, I guess I'm not going to move," he said. "I've got equipment on and that's my job. I'm not going to move, for sure. I don't care if his shot gets harder, like he said. I'm not moving."

Pageau said he would be ready to play in Game 6.

"I'm fine," he said. "He has a good shot. It hurt when it happened, but now it's fine. I'll be fine, I think."

Senators goaltender Craig Anderson, who has stopped 120 of 123 shots since replacing Andrew Hammond as starter for Game 3, said teammates notice and appreciate the little plays that are made on winning teams at this time of year.

"It's the things that don't get talked about," Anderson said. "It's the plays as players you recognize and you know that's why you have success, but at the end of the day, it doesn't get talked about and players don't get rewarded for it, but as a team, as a group, we get the win so there is an overall reward for it."

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