(Forward Colin Greening, a native of St. John's, Newfoundland, who saw 24 games worth of duty with the Ottawa Senators this season, is back in the American Hockey League with the Binghamton Senators for the Calder Cup playoffs. He'll provide some insights in a series of blog posts for OttawaSenators.com).
It’s a big game for us tonight at home and everyone’s really positive heading into it. We had just a reflection day yesterday after a tough loss on Sunday night. Everyone realizes it’s a close series and it’s playoff hockey. I can’t speak for everyone else, but based on the mood in the dressing room, I would think we’ve all moved past Sunday’s loss. We won one in overtime and then we lost one in overtime. We had one of those ‘how high can you get, how low can you get’ moments. I think everyone realizes that and has put it behind them.
Tonight can definitely be described as a ‘must win’ for us, just because of the fact that if we go down 3-1 … I don’t like to think that way, but everyone realizes if we lose tonight, the next game we could be out and our season would be over. Everyone also realizes right now that having the home-ice advantage is important. So taking advantage of that and tying the series up 2-2 tonight is really important for us.
Everyone is staying pretty level headed and they realize – and we’ve been listening to a lot of the veterans – that this is playoff hockey and we don’t hit the panic button. I think that’s the most important thing. Once you start gripping your stick too tight, then you start making more mistakes and we don’t want to do that. I think everyone realizes that and hopefully, we’ll be able to play tonight like we’ve always played.
It was great to see the fan support here on Sunday night. It’s always nice to see a lot more fans out there and it was a lot louder. When we came out of the players’ entrance to head onto the ice, we had a lot more people than usual trying to shake our hands. That means a lot to the guys on the team, when you get more support, and that’s why we want to take advantage of home ice. We want to be able to feed off the atmosphere.
The intensity level is just getting higher and higher as the series moves on. We’ve played three games against each other and we now know all of their players. They don’t like us and we don’t like them, and that’s just what playoff hockey is all about. It’s just going to get even more intense from there, but that’s all part of it. As you get closer and closer to that fourth win, it gets harder and harder to actually get it. Everyone realizes they have to step it up even more if we want to finish the job and move on.
For us tonight, consistency is the most important thing. Just making sure that, in the second period especially, we come out with a consistent effort. Hopefully, we’ll have another good effort in the first period. We’ve always good firsts and we’ve had relatively good third periods. It’s that second period that has hindered us a little bit. So I think that’s the key for us tonight, not to become complacent at any point.