No pain, no gain in playoffs

CHRIS STEVENSON -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 8:36 AM ET

A measure of a team at this time of year is how many ice bags it needs.

Senators winger Mike Comrie, who helped set up the winner by defenceman Tom Preissing last night, could use a few freezers from The Brick, his dad's appliance chain, after the 2-0 win over the New Jersey Devils at Scotiabank Place. It allowed the Senators to hold serve in their Eastern Conference semi-final and take the lead in the best-of-seven series 2-1.

"That's playoff hockey, that's the time of year," said Comrie, who was dumped into the boards and was hit in the foot by a Preissing shot and got up slowly after both incidents. "You just keep going out on the ice and working as hard as you can. You don't feel as much pain at this time of year ... until you take your equipment off."

Let's see.

Comrie might need an ice bag for a shoulder. He seemed to bump that a bit when he was tripped into the end boards about six minutes into the second period by Devils defenceman Richard Matvichuk.

Comrie got up with his right arm tucked in close to his side, went to the bench, sat there for a few moments and then went to the dressing room.

He came back a little later.

"I asked him if he was okay and he said yes," said Senators coach Bryan Murray, "so I sent him back out there."

Then in the third period, Comrie was just inside the Devils' blue line when Preissing wound up and let go a hard shot that caught him in the foot.

Comrie crumpled to the ice as the puck went up the other end of the rink. He was hobbling around the neutral zone when Ottawa's Mike Fisher intercepted a puck and fed it to Comrie at the New Jersey blue line.

"I was standing still when I got the puck and I didn't have any speed. It was a 1-on-1 and Matvichuk was closing in on me," said Comrie. "I saw Tom coming late and threw it into his corner. It was more of an area pass and he ended up finding the right spot."

With Fisher heading to the net and contacting Devils goaltender Martin Brodeur, Preissing's shot beat Brodeur to the glove side.

LINE HAD STRUGGLED

The goal was the first in the series for the Senators when the Comrie-Fisher-Peter Schaefer line was on the ice.

The trio had been hearing about that from the Senators coaching staff. Comrie had a few chances in Game 2, but had been stymied by Brodeur.

Schaefer, who played his best game of the series last night (truth be told, he didn't have to elevate his game much for that to be the case), joked yesterday morning he would still try to set up Comrie despite Comrie's struggles to find the back of the net in this series.

"We were joking around. My cheques might stop coming from The Brick (if he stops passing to Comrie)," said Schaefer. "I'll probably still keep trying to give him the puck.

"He's a tough little guy," Schaefer said of Comrie. "He came back after a huge hit. He came back out and battled. That says a lot about him."

This was a night when the Senators were going to need somebody other than Jason Spezza, Dany Heatley and Daniel Alfredsson to solve Brodeur.

"Secondary scoring is so important," said Comrie. "All game long, I felt like all four lines were generating chances. That goal was what our line has to do. Get the puck behind their defence. Cycle. Create chances."

Murray was impressed, too.

"Schaefer had his best game of the series. Comrie had his best game of the series and his best game since the last game against Pittsburgh," the coach praised. "That was a big lift for this team."

So, the Senators ended up out-Deviling the Devils.

PAYING THE PRICE

Murray could appreciate the need for the ice bags.

"This is a team that is now willing to pay the price," he said. "It's willing to work hard, willing to play disciplined, willing to block shots, work hard.

"There were so many blocked shots in the latter stages of the game when it was 1-0. This team would not have done it last year. We've taken a huge step. There's no doubt."

And now with Comrie around, if they need a deal on freezers for the ice, he's the guy.

He knows somebody.


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