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Fans rev up the red for Sens' home playoff opener

by Matthew Healy / Ottawa Senators
Clarke Jackson was among the Sens Army faithful out in full force for the team's playoff home opener against the New York Rangers at Scotiabank Place on Monday night (Photo by Matthew Healy/OSHC).

The Ottawa Senators returned home Monday night to a hero’s welcome.

Scotiabank Place was definitely the place to be for the Sens Army on Monday night, as the Senators squared off against the New York Rangers in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference quarter-final. After a spirited road triumph over the Blueshirts on Saturday, the Senators gave their fans plenty of reason to “believe it” when it comes to their playoff chances.

In the hours leading up to puck drop, the Senators faithful poured into Scotiabank Place chanting “Go Sens Go!” Clad in their Senators gear, there was no question that the city has come to life and is excited about the return of playoff hockey to the nation’s capital for the first time in two years.

With the two teams entering Monday’s game with the series tied 1-1, Senators fans believe their team’s chances are great.

“They just need to dig deep, (play) a little more defence and don’t leave (goaltender Craig) Anderson out to dry,” said Sens fan Scott Cameron, who believes his favourite team can win the series against the Rangers.

Lifelong Sens fan Danika Gourgon, 20, said the team “just has to keep doing what they’re doing.”

“They’re playing great right now,” she added. “The second game was awesome. They dominated the Rangers throughout the game.

Gourgon was thrilled to attend Game 3 at Scotiabank Place, saying playoff games in Ottawa “are insane.”

Clarke Jackson, 37, arrived at Monday’s game wearing a centurion’s helmet and Senators flag draped over his shoulders. Jackson wasn’t surprised when the Senators made it to the Stanley Cup playoffs.

“I had confidence and faith (that they would),” said the dedicated fan, adding all the Senators need to do is “work hard and not be intimidated.”

Mike Pinkney, 39, who was attending his first National Hockey League playoff game, believes the Senators will win the series against the Rangers “if they play smart and play to their capabilities.”

Dan Roy, 41, and his son Zachary drove eight hours from Timmins, Ont., to attend Game 3. Roy believes “if they (the Senators) keep working as hard as they have been, they’ll get through the Rangers.

“Game 2 showed how gritty they can be, standing up for each other and playing as a team,” he said.

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