Sens one win away

BRUCE GARRIOCH, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 6:17 AM ET

The sea of red erupted into a chant of “Go Sens Go” in the dying minutes tonight at Scotiabank Place.

But, the real celebration is still one sweet victory away for the Senators.

The Senators are on the verge of making their first Stanley Cup final in the team's modern history and it’s the Buffalo Sabres they want to sweep out the door of the Eastern Conference final. Tonight's 1-0 victory gives Ottawa a 3-0 lead in the best-of-seven series.

The 20,171 fans jammed into the Kanata rink went wild as the clock ticked down.

Captain Daniel Alfredsson, who looks like he’s on a mission to lead the Senators to the Cup, scored the goal that turned out to be the winner while goalie Ray Emery wasn’t forced to make a lot of saves, but was there when it counted to continually frustrate the Sabres.

Only the 1942 Maple Leafs and 1975 New York Islanders have come back from 3-0 deficits to win a series, but the Sabres are going to need a miracle to even force a Game 5 Saturday at the HSBC Arena after the way the Senators have dominated the first three games.

Nothing seems to faze the Senators this spring. They’re getting the big saves from Emery, top-notch penalty killing and those wonderful “bounces” that coaches always talk about making the difference.

It was a huge bounce that resulted in the opening goal for the Senators and broke a scoreless tie at 13:40 of the second. Just when it looked like coach Bryan Murray’s words about the inadequacies of Buffalo goalie Ryan Miller might come back to haunt his team, Alfredsson finally opened the scoring.

Dany Heatley blasted a shot from the top of the circle that missed the net, but a falling Miller could do nothing as the puck bounced off the boards, back out off his glove and headed towards the net where Alfredsson was standing to put it home.

That was what this crowd had been waiting for all night and they went crazy. Up until then, Miller had stopped absolutely everything the Senators threw his way. The game was clearly Miller's best performance of the series after two shaky outings.

But, Alfredsson was working his magic at both ends of the ice. Only moments later, Buffalo’s Derek Roy tried to do a wraparound with Emery out of position and Alfredsson was there to make the stop.

The Senators were unable to beat Miller in the first, but they had their chances. He made a blocker stop on Peter Schaefer midway through the first that would have broken the scoreless tie with Ottawa carrying the play.

But, the fans had plenty to cheer about as the Senators put on the pressure. They were on their feet in tribute late in the first as the Senators toyed with the Buffalo power play -- Dean McAmmond and Mike Fisher played keepaway by not even letting the Sabres touch the puck.

If the Sabres cannot do the near-impossible and come back to win this series, it will be easy to find somewhere to lay the blame. Their brutal power play was 0-for-6 in Game 3 to run their futility streak to 0-for-18 in the series.

Without some improvement on that lowlight, the Sabres will be hard pressed to send this series back to Buffalo. Game 4 is Wednesday back at Scotiabank Place.


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