Sens have a chokehold on Pens

CHRIS STEVENSON -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 9:48 AM ET

PITTSBURGH -- The word was written in red marker on a white board in the Ottawa dressing room.

It was the word at which Senators coach Bryan Murray pointed during a scathing dressing down of his team during the second intermission.

"I lambasted them," said Murray.

The word?

"Attitude."

"I told them we can give you all the technical stuff, but it comes down to this," he said after his team was outplayed and outscored by a rising Penguins team in the middle 20 minutes.

Murray's Senators responded, yet another indication they are getting harder, maybe taking another step toward becoming the tougher, edgier team they want to become.

Where did the coach's performance rank on the Murray Storm Scale?

"He could have kicked over some water jugs ... only eight or nine (out of 10)," said Senators defenceman Chris Phillips. "Make it an eight."

Murray didn't like what he saw from his team in the second period.

"It was doing the little things," said Phillips. "Paying attention to what we were supposed to be doing. Getting the puck in deep, the simple things. Just getting rid of the mental mistakes."

Now the Senators have a 3-1 chokehold on the Penguins heading back to Ottawa for Game 5 tomorrow night.

These are the kinds of the games the Senators weren't supposed to be able to win, right?

Goaltender Ray Emery delivered his best game of the series.

The penalty killing was perfect, killing all five Pittsburgh power plays.

They got a goal from a guy who is expected to score in Jason Spezza and one from a guy who isn't, Anton Volchenkov.

The coach made his point and the word was still there on that white board after the game.

Maybe this team is finally getting some attitude.

HEAR AND THERE: There were still a few people booing the Canadian anthem here last night. I have no doubt Senators fans will take the high road at Game 5 tomorrow night at Scotiabank Place and not return the insult ... The Penguins finally played a good second period. They had been outscored 6-1 in the previous three games in the second, but came back to tie it up last night. It was a terrific period of hockey ... The lack of chemistry between Senators Ds Wade Redden and Andrej Meszaros cost Ottawa that second-period goal. Redden put a pass off the end boards that was soft and Meszaros looked like it was the last thing he anticipated. Pittsburgh's Jordan Staal got to it first and scored a few seconds later.

SPECULATIONS: On Ottawa's first goal, Spezza's attempted pass hit the stick of Staal, popped up in the air and fell into the net behind Penguins G Marc-Andre Fleury. "That's not a play we've been working on," said Spezza ... Penguins star Sidney Crosby was proud of his team's effort. "Every guy can look at themselves in the mirror and look at the guy next to them and say they gave an honest effort and laid it out there," he said. "I think we showed ourselves, we showed them, that we're a tough team to play against when we want to."

THE BUZZ: Christoph Schubert drops back to play defence when a Senators defenceman gets a penalty and he was busy through two periods. Phillips had three hooking penalties and Volchenkov was called for interference and holding, accounting for all the Senators penalties. Schubert helped kill all of them off and led the club in short-handed ice time with 5:57 ... Spezza's line got stuck on the ice after an icing call with 44.7 seconds left and the Senators protecting a one-goal lead. Spezza won the draw, Phillips rimmed it around and Daniel Alfredsson got it out.

IN AND OUT: Alfredsson was 15-28 in the regular season on faceoffs and 0-2 in the playoffs, but he made a heck of a move on Crosby near the end of the second on a draw in the Penguins zone. Alfredsson stepped around him and got a clean shot on goal.

LEMME SAY THIS ABOUT THAT: Spezza's goal wouldn't have counted if W Chris Neil had touched it with that high stick as the puck floated down into the net. "He said he left it alone on purpose," said Spezza. Okay.

JUST WONDERING: Where was this Joe Corvo fellow through most of the regular season?


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