|Ottawa Senators defenceman Wade Redden is confident his club will close out the Eastern Conference final tomorrow against the Buffalo Sabres. Photo: A. Ringuette/Freestyle Photography/OSHC|
by Todd Anderson
The Ottawa Senators have been a model of consistency since the calendar flipped to 2007, and they have full confidence in themselves heading into Game 5 of the Eastern Conference final tomorrow against the Buffalo Sabres. Knowing they haven't lost back-to-back games throughout the playoffs - or in regulation dating all the way back to Dec. 19, and 21, 2006 - the Senators intend to keep those streaks going.
"It's a testament to our guys in here and how we compete every night," Senators alternate captain Wade Redden says. "If we do lose a game, we get right back to what we have to do the next night."
Senators head coach Bryan Murray says his team's ability to come back from a loss or adversity in a game is one of its strongest attributes. He's impressed with the poise from the group.
"We talk about mental toughness all the time," Murray says. "I think that's the biggest thing that good teams have. They're able to overcome obstacles. Momentum is not the big item. What it is, is being ready to play for a particular game and be ready to focus, be ready to handle that game."
Down 3-0 in the series and desperate for a win, the Sabres cut down the minutes of some of their players in Game 4, which they won 3-2. Murray continued to employ all four lines and the response from the unit of Dean McAmmond, Christoph Schubert and Oleg Saprykin, for example, proved that the Senators coach can rely on everyone on the roster to work together and get the job done.
"I think all we're doing is trying to keep it simple, all the boring stuff," says McAmmond, who scored one of Ottawa's goals in Game 4. "Get the puck deep, nothing fancy. Get pucks at the net and maybe get a couple breaks.
"It's just a matter of us sticking to the system that has carried our momentum whether we've been down a goal or up a goal."