|Senators forward Dany Heatley looks on during the morning skate today at Scotiabank Place. The Senators attempt to eliminate the Pittsburgh Penguins tonight.|
by Todd Anderson
Up 3-1 in the Eastern Conference quarter-final against the Pittsburgh Penguins, the Ottawa Senators are determined to put the pedal to the metal tonight and pull away with the victory. They realize the importance of playing with a killer instinct in the playoffs.
"You don't want to give a team life, especially these guys," Senators centre Jason Spezza said this morning. "It hasn't been an easy series physically and it's going to continue to be hard. If you can get yourself rest, it's going to help in the long run. You've just got to put a team down when they're down."
Facing elimination in his first NHL playoff run, Penguins star Sidney Crosby spoke about his team's attitude at the morning skate today at Scotiabank Place.
"I liked the mood out there," Crosby said. "The guys are relaxed. We know what we have to do. It's a matter of going out there, leaving it all out there, and seeing what happens. It takes one play to change a game or a series, we have to be smart on every play."
The crowd at Scotiabank Place was rambunctious in Games 1 and 2 and Sens captain Daniel Alfredsson is looking for the same type of greeting when his team steps onto the ice tonight. He says the team feeds off the energy provided by the Sens Army.
"We've played well at home and we want to continue that. The first two games at home (in the series) we used the crowd to our advantage. If we (hear the cheers), we know we're moving our feet and we're forechecking well."
While Ottawa has played great in the series, Senators defenceman Tom Preissing says there's still room for improvement in certain areas.
"I think little things need to be tweaked," Preissing says. "I think (Pittsburgh) did a good job exposing us with their dump-and-chase method last game. If we shore that up, I think we'll be pretty good. Beyond that, I think our power play needs to click a bit more, and we'll be alright."
As has been the focus during the entire series, both teams will look to take advantage of their power-play opportunities tonight. Penguins coach Michel Therrien says strong penalty killing from both sides has made scoring with the extra man difficult.
"We've got to give credit, (the Senators are) doing a good job," Therrien says. "Our PK has been pretty good, too."
In the first four games of the series Ottawa has scored five power-play goals on 21 opportunities, while Pittsburgh has gone 4-for-22.