Sens' PK units earning straight A's

DON BRENNAN -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 9:24 AM ET

It became a popular catch phrase in Buffalo originating from a call made by the legendary, sometimes a bit over the top, Sabres play-by-play man Rick Jeanneret.

''These guys are good," Jeanneret bellows of his team. "Scarrrry good."

The words now more aptly describe the Senators' penalty killers in the Eastern Conference final.

The Ottawa power play has worked well throughout the playoffs, clicking on 14-of-61 chances to lead all four remaining teams with a 23% efficiency rating.

But the club's penalty killers really have emerged as the stars in Round 3.

Their 18-for-18 shutdown of Buffalo's power play improved the Senators' efficiency rating while shorthanded to 89.7% -- tops among the teams still playing heading into last night's Western Conference game in Anaheim.

Their flawless 6-for-6 showing in Game 3 was a key factor in establishing a 3-0 series lead heading into tonight's potential wrapup.

The Sabres managed just one shot -- a 49-foot slapper by Teppo Numminen on their first power play -- and exactly none on the remaining five.

'WORKING HARD'

The Senators' penalty killers threw a similar ace in Game 1, outshooting the Sabres 4-1 during Buffalo's five power plays that night. On the series, the Sabres have managed just eight shots in 34 minutes 35 seconds of 5-on-4 time.

"We're working hard and having success," said Antoine Vermette, a key penalty killer who is having a strong, overall series. "You can feel the confidence in the way we've been playing since the beginning of the playoffs. We always talk about the importance of special teams this time of year, so that's been huge.

"Confidence is a big part of it, knowing where your teammate is going to be at the right time, and Ray (Emery) has made some big stops when we've needed it. But still the best way of doing things is to stay out of the box. Even though we're having success on the PK, we don't want to put ourselves in a short-handed situation. They have players that can hurt you on the power play."

While the primary penalty killers on defence remain Anton Volchenkov and Chris Phillips, Bryan Murray has generally shown equal amounts of confidence in three pairs of forwards. And each of Daniel Alfredsson-Dean McAmmond, Chris Kelly-Vermette, and Mike Fisher-Peter Schaefer has used speed to produce one short-handed goal and several other scoring opportunities.

"Pressure, I think, is the biggest thing," said Alfredsson. "Don't give the power play a lot of time ... If they're going to beat you, they have to make two, three great plays, and then you tip your hat to them."


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