Sens say they'll stay 'Canadian'

Senators coach Bryan Murray. (SUN/Sean Kilpatrick)

Senators coach Bryan Murray. (SUN/Sean Kilpatrick)

DON BRENNAN -- Ottawa Sun

, Last Updated: 11:59 AM ET

Bryan Murray had called it "Canadian hockey."

"All I meant was we had a physical approach, more than the finesse approach we've had some nights," the Senators coach said in clarifying his post-game comments after Thursday's short-staffed 4-1 victory over the New York Rangers.

"We battled real hard."

Leading the charge was Chris Neil, a true-blue Canuck who scored Ottawa's first goal and led the team with an eye-opening nine hits. Neil, who now has 16 goals in his breakthrough season, is also seventh in the league in hits with 183.

"That's the way you have to play in the playoffs," Neil said of the physical stuff.

"Guys out there you normally don't see playing that way ... we need everyone bumping, crashing and playing through everything."

When the Senators play host to Alexander Ovechkin (48 goals, 46 assists) and the lowly Washington Capitals tonight (7:30, CBC), they will have the same lineup as they did against the Rangers. That means no Mike Fisher, who tested his sore ankle yesterday but still isn't ready to go. That means no Wade Redden, who is dealing with personal matters out west. And that means rookie defenceman Andrej Meszaros should again see close to 30 minutes of action.

And that means the continued focus on defence Murray wants to see entering the playoffs.

"(Thursday's game) was like old times," said Daniel Alfredsson. "We knew we had to be smart defensively and count on special teams more than usual. We did a good job."

While Murray commended the conscientious play of his offensive stars, Jason Spezza said it's an obvious adjustment to make at this of year. "We're not idiots," he said. "We know we've got to alter our game. We're not going to take the same chances we do during the season in the playoffs. It's all about winning for us."

DON.BRENNAN@OTT.SUNPUB.COM


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