Ottawa vets take back series

Chris Stevenson

, Last Updated: 1:29 AM ET

PITTSBURGH - They have taken back the momentum, led by their captain and a fourth liner, their grumpy old men.

Thirty-somethings Daniel Alfredsson and Dean McAmmond led the Senators back into control in their opening-round series against the Penguins last night, playing mean and playing ugly in what is now a mean and ugly series.

McAmmond had a "Gordie Howe" -a goal, assist and fight- capping a night in a series that has taken that mean turn.

PIItds getting pretty chippy, no doubt,Sum said Penguins star Sidney Crosby, who had a goal and an assist. "I thought it was a little different than the first two games. These teams have played each other a lot, late in the season and now three games, and now thereds more going on for sure."

After a slow Senators start, McAmmond tied the game late in the first period 1-1 with his first goal of the playoffs.

The 33-year-old then pounded out a K.O. over Pittsburgh's Maxime Talbot in the second after Pittsburgh's Colby Armstrong knocked Ottawa's Patrick Eaves out of the game with a shoulder hit to the head as Eaves circled out behind the Penguinsd goal.

McAmmond personified the kind of performance the Senators needed on a night when their character was being put to the test and questioned by some after losing Game 2.

"I think we've showed our share of character through out the year with the adversity that wedve had at times," said McAmmond. "They can take from it what they want."

McAmmond started slowly against Talbot when they paired off out of a scrum, but then showed he can handle himself.

"We knew he was a sneaky fighter, so we weren't too worried about him," said Jason Spezza. PIItds great for him to step up for us. That's what you need (is guys stepping up), especially with back-to-back games. We felt if we could play four lines all night and kind of grind them down, we could wear them out at little bit."

"I don't know if he knew he was fighting an old man out there," said McAmmond, whose last NHL fight was almost seven years ago against Stars F Brenden Morrow.

McAmmond could throw them in his junior days, racking up 189 minutes in 1991-92 with Prince Albert of the WHL.

"No one knew Deano could fight like that," said Senators forward Mike Fisher. "He was just toying with him from the start. No one knew if he was a lefty or righty. I still dondt know."

McAmmond gave the Sens what they needed when the chance was there to take this series in a different direction.

"That's what teammates are for, to try and give the big guys up top, the big guns, a bit of a break,Sum said McAmmond. "It takes everybody. (Last night) was a game where I could help out."

Oh, and how did that last fight, the one against Morrow, go? Did he win?

"No," said McAmmond. "He was a lefty and I didndt know that."

Hear and there:

Eaves was hammered in the second by Armstrong on what is still classed as a clean hit. Got a feeling the days of that being a "clean" hit are dwindling, though ... Senators D Joe Corvo continues to make a growing contribution.

He played 18:21 last night, had an assist and was +2 ... After dominating in the faceoff circle in the first couple of games (65% and 78%, respectively) Crosby was 8-15 last night (34%).

Revelations:

Some Penguins fans booed the Canadian national anthem yesterday. Funny, because Canada gave them Mario Lemieux and now Sidney Crosby and without the two of them those Penguins fans dondt have a team for which to cheer yesterday ... Dondt know exactly where he would rank, but Mike Comrie is right near the top in terms of effort among Senators forwards. He took the puck away from Evgeni Malkin and Ryan Malone behind the net in the first period. Scored his second goal of the playoffs, too.

The buzz:

The Senators were lucky PIthe whistle blewSum when Gary Roberts and Spezza were shoving at the Pittsburgh bench because while that was happening, Crosby was scoring a goal after undressing Corvo and walking out in front...Crosby said he didndt hear the whistle on the play, PIbut I looked over and saw a lot going on at our bench.Sum ... For all the gimmicks the marketing folks try and come up with during the playoffs, itds pretty tough to beat the visual effect of 17,500 people waving plain old white towels.

Just wondering:

Friendship doesndt count for much when it comes to the playoffs, huh? Spezza and Roberts are workout buddies in the summer and they worked out together yesterday. Roberts worked on his gloves to the face and Spezza worked on being the heavy bag.

chris.stevenson@sunmedia.ca


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