by Todd Anderson
More than 500 loyal Ottawa Senators fans greeted the team at Ottawa Macdonald-Cartier International Airport last night when the club arrived back from Anaheim. Trailing the Stanley Cup final 2-0, the Sens say they've been motivated by the encouragement displayed by the Sens Army.
"We're proud of the fans and we hope they're proud of us," Senators centre Dean McAmmond says. "Maybe together we can make a nice recipe for a couple of wins here."
Senators forward Dany Heatley was caught off guard when he saw the crowd that had formed to greet the team.
"It was a little surprising and very nice to see the support at the airport. It's awesome. They've been great for us through the stretch here. We would like nothing more than to get a win for them tomorrow night. It's always fun to be in front of our crowd, they always give us some energy."
Heatley's linemate Jason Spezza has also been impressed with the dedication of Sens fans. Spezza says it was a nice compliment to see so many people at the airport yesterday.
"It just shows the commitment of the people here. They believe in us. We don't think we're out of this. The support in the community is phenomenal. We can't speak enough for the way people have rallied behind us and it definitely makes it exciting to play."
Back at Scotiabank Place for Games 3 and 4, Sens goaltender Ray Emery can't wait to hear the hometown crowd rev up the energy prior to the puck drop. The Senators boast a record of 5-2 at home during the playoffs.
"The momentum gets the blood pumping," Emery says. "I think we're comfortable playing in this rink. Just the emotion of the fans. Home-ice advantage, that's what it is."
The Senators held a 35-minute meeting before practice today, and head coach Bryan Murray said afterwards that several areas of concern were addressed during the session.
"We talked about guys being able to take charge and play back to the level they have to play at and that's what we're expecting," Murray says "We have to try and step it up as we get home and take advantage of what we can do in our own building. That is feed off the emotion of the fans and obviously work a little harder than we did out there (in Anaheim).
"I think you have to make adjustments. We know what they're doing now. Our guys, we told them, we showed video, but until you get on the ice sometimes and you go through it, you don't really understand all the good things they do, and they do some real good things. So we have to make the adjustment and hope that our guys will force them to do something a little different."