|Senators defenceman Wade Redden, left, celebrates with teammate Dean McAmmond after a 5-4 victory over the New Jersey Devils in Game 1. Photo: J. McIsaac/Getty Images/NHLI|
by Todd Anderson
Ottawa Senators head coach Bryan Murray is pleased with how his team bounced back last night from inconsistent play during the opener of the Eastern Conference semifinal against the New Jersey Devils. After being off for seven days since eliminating the Pittsburgh Penguins in Round 1 of the playoffs on April 19, the Senators raced out to a 4-0 first-period lead last night and held on to steal home-ice advantage from New Jersey with a 5-4 win.
"I thought we played like a team that was off for seven days," Murray says. "I think we came out with energy. We were all enthused about the game and the series starting.
And then you could just see that our legs weren't the same in the second period, in particular, and (the Devils) got a couple of goals. We didn't play with the poise, for about five to eight minutes in the second, that you want your team to play with. We came out in the third and I thought we played real strong and steady."
Senators goaltender Ray Emery spoke about what was said in the dressing room during the second intermission.
"We just told ourselves we're in a good spot. Up on the road going into the third period, we had to seal the deal," Emery says. "There was no panic. That's what we wanted. If you would've told us we'd be up 4-3 going into the third before the game, we would've taken it. We just went out and played solid."
Murray says it was simply just a matter of getting back to the game plan.
"We just had to make adjustments. We had to do a couple of things in our game plan that we got away from. I thought we got away from them because we lost our energy. We were sitting back. You get a four-goal lead and kind of let yourself off with some of the disciplines you have to have."
Now the Senators will be looking to take a 2-0 lead in the series when they visit the Devils for Game 2 on Saturday. Ottawa has never won the first two games of a series in club history.
"The first game is real important. Now we have a chance to steal two in a real tough building to win," Senators centre Jason Spezza says. "Going home, we're pretty good in our rink, too. The series is far from over though. We didn't have our best game (last night) but we found a way to win and that's all that matters."