Fisher reels it in

BRUCE GARRIOCH -- Ottawa Sun

, Last Updated: 4:51 PM ET


 Mike Fisher has been called the heart of the Senators. Maybe. Maybe not. But one thing's for sure: He's the reason the Senators have a pulse today.

 Fisher came through in the crunch to keep the Senators' Stanley Cup dream alive by scoring the game-winner at 1:47 of double overtime in a 2-1 win over the Toronto Maple Leafs last night at the Corel Centre.

 Fisher took a slick pass from rookie winger Antoine Vermette, and deflected it past Toronto goalie Ed Belfour to force a Game 7 in the Battle of Ontario -- tomorrow at the Air Canada Centre.

 "That's definitely the biggest goal of my career," said a sweat-soaked Fisher. "It's obviously huge. We felt that we could win this game and we're confident we can win this series. We knew we had to have our best effort.

 "We did a lot of good things. We didn't give them much and we felt like we were in control for much of that game. We had our backs to the wall. We had no choice, but win. Everybody played a strong game for us."

 Following an ugly 2-0 loss in Game 5 in Toronto on Friday, the Senators had their character called into question and GM John Muckler had a pointed discussion with the club the next day about the effort the players gave.

 While the Senators looked nervous after an attempted pass by Toronto defenceman Bryan McCabe bounced off Brian Pothier and through Patrick Lalime in the first period, they finally took control after Zdeno Chara tied it in the third.

 It was a long time coming.

 There were many anxious moments as Senators fans waited for their team to gain some momentum.

 "I thought that goal really turned the tide for us ... it gave us a spark," said Senators centre Bryan Smolinski. "We knew what we were faced with and we knew the challenge. We had to rise to the occasion. We felt that we could.

 "We didn't play anything close to the way we're capable of playing in Game 5 and afterwards a lot of guys in this room were doing a lot of soul-searching.

 "We knew we were either going to live or die with this game. We gave ourselves another chance, but we've got lots of work to do."

 Yes, but at least they have a chance.

 Had it not been for yet another heroic performance by Belfour -- who stopped 44 shots -- the Leafs would have been run right out of the building.

 "It was a great effort from everybody. We had a lot of guys step up for us," said Lalime, who made 28 saves. "But we know that we haven't won anything yet.

 "We've got a chance to move on. We know it's going to be tough in Toronto, but we'll give it everything we've got."

 This victory was no surprise to captain Daniel Alfredsson. He assured everybody on Friday in Toronto the Senators would be back -- and he believed it.

 "I don't think it was any bold prediction or anything. I was confident we'd win this game," said Alfredsson. "After the last game, everybody looked in the mirror and knew they could do more to help the team be successful.

 "This feels good, but it doesn't mean anything. It means we have a chance to play another game and win this series." 


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