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Donovan a playoff force for Sens

by Rob Brodie / Ottawa Senators
Shean Donovan doesn’t see it as a circumstance that demands a miracle. Or some sort of an impossible dream.

Rather, he ponders the 3-0 hole the Senators have dug themselves against the Pittsburgh Penguins and wonders why it can’t happen. Why his team can’t indeed become only the third in National Hockey League history to rebound from such a deficit to win a best-of-seven playoff series.

“We won four games lots of times this year,” Donovan said today as the Senators for Game 4 tonight at Scotiabank Place (7 p.m., CBC, Team 1200). “Lots of teams have won four games. So it’s not crazy to think you can win four games in the playoffs.”

Actually, Donovan wonders why it hasn’t happened more often. But, as anyone familiar with NHL lore knows, only the 1942 Toronto Maple Leafs (in the final against Detroit) and 1975 New York Islanders (first round vs. Pittsburgh) have been able to turn the trick.

“If you win Game 4, you get momentum going into Game 5 and you never know what happens. You can go into their barn and win,” Donovan said in analyzing the Senators’ current situation.
“Especially in the Eastern Conference this year, when teams go on streaks, they seem to go on pretty big ones.

“I don’t understand why teams don’t win more being (down 3-0). It sounds crazy, but you have to win that fourth game. Momentum is such a big thing and streakiness has been a big thing this year, especially because of parity.”

Donovan has been one of the better things in this series for the Senators. A low-minute guy early in the season, the former 67’s star has become one of head coach/general manager Brian Murray’s most trusted foot soldiers against the Penguins.

“For a guy who didn’t get any ice time early on in the year at all.… If you’re talking pure effort, (Donovan) has certainly been one of them, without a doubt,” Murray said today when asked to name his top performers in this series (goaltender Martin Gerber also rated a mention).

Modest guy that he is, Donovan took that bit of praise in stride when it was later passed his way.

“Obviously, it’s nice to hear that,” he said. “I just try to go out there and work hard and if that happens, that’s good. I just try to do everything to help the team win.

“Lots of guys are working hard. We’re all trying to get our first win (of the series) here. Nicky (Foligno) played great in the last game. I got a chance to play with Chris Neil and Dean McAmmond the last couple of games.… We all play the same style, so you just go in there and bang. It’s been easy to play with them.”

Donovan’s contract expires at the end of the season but he hopes he’s still in a Senators uniform come the fall.

“I love Ottawa. It’s my home and my family’s home,” he said. “I love it here, I love the organization. But that (contract talk) is a long ways away and, hopefully, lots of games away.”

Bodycheck, the official playoff program of the Ottawa Senators, is now available on-line. Check it out right here.

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