Sens go full throttle

BRUCE GARRIOCH -- Ottawa Sun

, Last Updated: 9:19 AM ET

TAMPA -- On a night when Wade Redden set aside his heartbreak for a couple of hours, the Senators finally flexed their muscle and delivered a knockout punch. Physically ... and on the scoreboard.

"I was obviously just trying to come in and I really wanted play well," said Redden, whose mother Pat died last weekend. "Sometimes when you're on the ice, it's easier to focus mentally than it is when you're off the ice."

Redden missed Game 2, but wanted to play in Games 3 and 4 before returning home for the funeral.

"The main thing is he's back playing, doing what he loves to do," said Senators centre Mike Fisher, who needed stitches after taking a puck near the right eye. "That's what she loved watching him do."

Martin Havlat was dazzling with a three-point night, while Jason Spezza had four assists. Daniel Alfredsson, Dany Heatley and Antoine Vermette had two-point nights. Patrick Eaves, Heatley, Zdeno Chara and Vermette all scored their first playoff goals, while goalie Ray Emery made 35 saves.

"This was a big challenge for us and I thought we performed well," said Ottawa coach Bryan Murray. "We had a strong team effort and we had some guys step up for us when we needed it.

"I look at a guy like Wade Redden and the crisis that he is going through in his life with the loss of his mother. He comes in here and just has so much poise and plays so well for us. It was nice to see and you feel good for him."

Murray had challenged the players to be more physical and he wanted the club's top stars to step up. They did. The Senators chased Tampa starter John Grahame in the second period and just kept on scoring.

"That was by far the best game we've played in this series," said Havlat. "We had everybody going in the same direction and we really wanted to come out and set the tone early.

"We knew when we looked back on the first two games of this series, we hadn't played well. We knew we had to make a better effort. We had some chances, we shot the puck more and we were able to put the puck in the net.

"I really thought we were able to play a complete game. That's all you want."

Emery saw a different team in front of him.

"It's a lot different when you have a 3-0 lead in the first period, but I thought we were back playing (last night) more like the way we played in the regular season," said Emery. "We showed a lot of poise and we were able to get a lot of things done.

"They tried to be physical, but we stood up to them and that was important as well."

The Lightning spent part of the third period chasing Chris Neil around, at one point giving the Senators a seven-minute man advantage. Later, Zdeno Chara fought Vincent Lecavalier. But he held back on punching Lecavalier after wrestling him to the ice.


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