|Senators goaltender Ray Emery says his team can benefit from playing Game 5 on the road. Photo: A. Ringuette/Freestyle Photography/OSHC|
by Todd Anderson
The Ottawa Senators are determined to not give the Buffalo Sabres any more life. After dropping their first game of the Eastern Conference final last night at Scotiabank Place, the Senators still lead Buffalo 3-1 and plan to claim a spot in this year's Stanley Cup final with a win on Saturday afternoon in Buffalo.
"We've been good at closing teams out when we have an opportunity," Sens centre Jason Spezza said this morning after a brief team meeting. "We let one slip away (last night) but we've just got to keep it going and have that killer instinct. That's one of the things that makes you win in the playoffs: having the killer instinct and approaching games singularly."
Spezza's linemate, Dany Heatley, says his team doesn't have to change too much in order to close out the series against the Presidents' Trophy winners.
"We missed one chance last night, but I think we realize we didn't have our best game. We've got to go into Buffalo and play our best game of the series.
"We've just got to get back to how we've been playing all playoffs and get ready for Saturday. At times (last night) we tried to do too much. We just have to get back to playing simpler, getting pucks in and getting a good forecheck going."
Not that any confidence has been lost, but the Senators can look at a pair of facts to gain even more heading into Game 5.
No. 1, the Senators haven't lost back-to-back games throughout the playoffs. In fact, they haven't lost two straight matches decided in regulation since Dec. 19 and 21, 2006, against the Boston Bruins and Tampa Bay Lightning, respectively.
No. 2, Ottawa has been magnificent on the road during these playoffs. They currently sport a 6-1 record away from Scotiabank Place and they opened up the Eastern Conference final with a pair of victories in Buffalo.
"Obviously, we're disappointed we couldn't finish the series here at home and take advantage of that opportunity, but I think we realized that as many mistakes as we made (in Game 4), we still were able to keep it close and had a chance to win that game," Senators goaltender Ray Emery says. "We're not far off. We're still a confident bunch.
"We've done a great job of being real prepared on the road and not letting our surroundings affect us. At this time of year it's almost a bit easier to being away. You don't have all the distractions - family coming in, there's a lot more media up here for the most part. Sometimes when you get in a hotel and hide, it's easier to prepare for a game."