Senators love pressure

AL STRACHAN -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 9:29 AM ET

OTTAWA -- The Ottawa Senators intend to do tonight what they did on Saturday.

That doesn't mean they expect another 7-0 victory, but it does mean they intend to put the pressure on the Maple Leafs' suspect defence.

"We want to play well, play hard and get the puck in deep," said Senators coach Bryan Murray, whose team plays host to the Leafs for the second time in three nights.

"We'll try to do the same thing -- encourage our guys to be very focused and to get on the puck early on. If we skate and get on to the puck early on, we make it difficult for a lot of teams."

It is no disgrace for the Leafs to visit Ottawa and lose to the Senators. Only five teams have done otherwise this season.

But it is a disgrace to lose by lopsided scores and it's even a surprise to Murray.

"It really is," he said. "No one ever thought that we would score the way we have at this stage. We tried to change to a more puck-pressure team and a more offensive team, but who would ever have thought that we'd score seven goals on a given night or eight goals on a given night?"

In many ways, that's the difference a coach can make. If Jacques Martin were still here, those probably would have been 2-0 games. But under Murray, the Senators always are looking to score, even while killing penalties.

"I think we're leading the league in short-handed goals," said Mike Fisher, who has scored two of Ottawa's 14 such goals. "We're such a fast team. We pounce on the puck and we always try to have a couple of guys back.

"I think its speed and creativity that does it. If we get a chance, we go for it."

But the Senators are not gloating. They're very careful what they say about the Leafs. They've been on the wrong end of this battle for too long to see themselves as victors yet.

"When you play back-to-back like this," Jason Spezza said, "you can blow a team out, but you've got to play them the next night and you know they're going to be ready.

"We've got to put it behind us and all the old useless cliches. But they're true. They're cliches for a reason."


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