|From left, Senators Chris Kelly, Joe Corvo and Tom Preissing celebrate Corvo's game-winning goal in double overtime of Game 2. Photo: R. Stewart/Getty Images/NHLI|
by Todd Anderson
The Ottawa Senators are showing the characteristics of a champion.
Leading the Eastern Conference final 2-0, the Senators host the Buffalo Sabres for Games 3 and 4 at Scotiabank Place on Monday and Wednesday. While the first two victories of the series haven't come easily, Ottawa has given itself a chance to claim a spot in its first Stanley Cup final appearance in modern-day franchise history with a pair of victories at home.
"It's great. We went in there and did a real good job," Senators alternate captain Wade Redden says of the 2-0 start in Buffalo. "Every game keeps getting bigger. We know it's not wrapped up by any means and we've got a lot of work to do. We obviously like being (at home) but it's going to be tight games, and we have to be prepared for that. Being at home and coming into Game 3, we've got a great opportunity here."
The Sabres sent last night's Game 2 into overtime when co-captain Daniel BriÃ¨re tied the score at 3-3 with six seconds remaining in regulation. Senators defenceman Joe Corvo extinguished Buffalo's momentum by recording the game-winner in double overtime. At this time of year, it's crucial to be able to respond to adversity.
"You have to be able to recover, and I think that's a strength of our team," Senators head coach Bryan Murray says. "The one thing I really recognized in this group in the latter part of the year is that they are tough. They are mentally tough. They have to be the most well-conditioned group of guys that play in the National Hockey League right now. They are really seeing that it pays dividends."