Senators Watch

TERRY KOSHAN -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 12:47 PM ET


 LOOSE LALIME KEEPING THE CRITICS AT BAY

 Patrick Lalime isn't feeling any more heat to stand on his head given the play of his counterpart, Ed Belfour.

 "I don't know how much more pressure you can put on," the Ottawa Senators goalie said. "It doesn't matter what the score is. You have to make the saves if you want to help your team win."

 Lalime has some advice for his teammates heading into Game 4 tonight.

 "I think you want to be loose because that's when you play your best hockey," Lalime said. "You want to have fun and go in there and give it your best shot. There is not much else you can do. There is no doubt it is a huge game and we believe we can do it."

 At times this season, Lalime has been under the gun in the nation's capital. He was asked whether he has answered his critics with his performances the past two games.

 "It's always up to you guys to make that decision," Lalime said to the assembled media. "I'm just here to play hockey and do my best."

 Ottawa captain Daniel Alfredsson said the club has the utmost confidence in Lalime.

 "He is still performing great for us," Alfredsson said. "It has not been an issue."

 DEFENCE DOESN'T REST

 Despite what appears to be the opposite, the Senators claimed the Leafs defence hasn't been playing too badly in front of Belfour.

 "It seems like they are getting all their guys down in front and not giving us much room in their end," defenceman Wade Redden said. "If we can spread them out a bit it is going to help."

 SENS SHORTS

 Peter Bondra and Marian Hossa were given yesterday off from practice ... One positive the Senators took out of Game 3 was their success in the faceoff circle. They won 66% of the faceoffs, led by Bryan Smolinski, who was 15-3. The Leafs' Ron Francis and Joe Nieuwendyk were a combined 6-22.

 SENATORS INJURIES

 None.


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