No Miracle on Ice, yet

Ray Emery is congratulated by teammates in Buffalo last night as the netminder's heroics played a...

Ray Emery is congratulated by teammates in Buffalo last night as the netminder's heroics played a huge part in the Ottawa Senators' 2-1 nailbiting win. (Toronto Sun/Fred Thornhill)

BRUCE GARRIOCH -- Ottawa Sun

, Last Updated: 9:37 AM ET

BUFFALO -- With the Senators fighting for survival last night, coach Bryan Murray decided to skip the Knute Rockne-like inspirational pre-game speech.

He kept it simple.

"I just told them to go play Ottawa Senators hockey," said Murray. "I was going to start telling them some stories, but I decided I'm just not that funny."

The Senators -- facing elimination and trailing 3-1 in the series --are still alive today after a 2-1 victory over the Buffalo Sabres at HSBC Arena in Game 4 of the Eastern Conference semi-final. Some would suggest barely, but they did live to extend the series to Game 5 tomorrow night at Scotiabank Place after Wade Redden scored the winner at 2:52 of the third period.

Led by Ray Emery's strongest performance of the playoffs and a goal from defenceman Brian Pothier, the Senators still need a miracle to beat the Sabres, but the forecast is a little better.

"We worked well as a team and that's why we were able to get the win," said Redden. "We're just taking this one game at a time. Now, we just have to keep going."

Emery was only beaten by Daniel Briere when he banked the puck off Ottawa defenceman Anton Volchenkov on a wraparound. Emery made some huge stops as the Sabres swarmed the net with Ottawa clinging to the one-goal lead.

Asked to compare this to a boxing match, Emery didn't miss a beat: "We just took the fourth round."

Yep, he stole the show.

"He was my star," said Murray.

Many felt with the Senators in such a desperate situation, Dominik Hasek would play. Hasek had a discussion with the coaching staff about playing or dressing as the backup, but wasn't ready and didn't want to distract Emery.

"I just wanted to have a strong game," said Emery. "I don't want to look back and be the one who feels like I cost us this series."

Not only did the Senators halt a nine-game playoff losing skid against Buffalo that dates back to 1999, they also became the first team to score first on the Sabres in these playoffs.

"We had a lot of guys step up for us," said centre Bryan Smolinski.

The odds are still stacked against the Senators. Only the 1942 Toronto Maple Leafs and 1975 New York Islanders have won a playoff series after being down 3-0.

"If we played like that the last three games ... well, we just have to keep going," said Murray.


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