Sens know road gets tougher

BRUCE GARRIOCH -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 9:44 AM ET

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- The Senators achieved one goal last night by wrestling away the New Jersey Devils' home-ice advantage.

Now comes the hard part.

"We know this isn't going to be easy," centre Jason Spezza said after the Senators' 5-4 victory. "You don't expect to have a game like that against the New Jersey Devils."

The Senators now have an opportunity to put the Devils on the ropes in this Eastern Conference semi-final with a victory in Game 2 tomorrow.

"We know we got away with a huge win and a game they were able to come back," defenceman Wade Redden said, ''but we have to put it behind us and look forward because it's only going to get tougher.''

Indeed. Today, the Senators can look forward to being reminded that they have a 0-7 record in Game 2's after winning the opener of a series.

That's why coach Bryan Murray is trying to keep the focus on the task at hand.

"We have great respect for this team and we know they're going to come up big like they did (last) night," Murray said.

"We have to play (tomorrow) and we have to try to win that game. It's important to know that we can win here and we have to win at home. But the bottom line is, we just have to win (tomorrow) and keep going from there."

Still, the Senators have put the pressure squarely on the Devils, who are suddenly facing a must-win.

"We don't want to fall down 0-2," said winger Brian Gionta. "It's funny how it works. The key for us is to just go play a really good, hard game. If we do that, the win will take care of itself. We've got a pretty focused group and a group that believes in each other. We'll be fine."

New Jersey coach Lou Lamoriello said he never thought of pulling goalie Martin Brodeur after the Senators jumped out to a 4-0 lead in the first period, and believes his club will be buoyed by its comeback that just fell short.

"I wasn't angry in any way (after the first)," said Lamoriello. ''We made some mistakes. We know how to play this game. We had 15 shots. We had chances and we didn't take advantage of the ones we had.''

The Devils' cause wasn't helped by the absence of team-scoring leader Patrik Elias, who sat out with what was called a cold or flu.

"He's a big-time player and he contributes a lot to their team," Ottawa defenceman Chris Phillips said.


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