Three's a charm?

BRUCE GARRIOCH

, Last Updated: 7:19 AM ET

As the Senators emerged from a team meeting yesterday at Scotiabank Place, Daniel Alfredsson pulled his sweater over his head and pretended to hide from the assembled media.

Here's hoping his new cloaking device will help him find some open ice in Game 3 of the Stanley Cup final.

Not only will the Senators need their captain to step up tonight at Scotiabank Place, they're all going to have to pitch in to overcome a 2-0 series deficit against the Anaheim Ducks.

A victory tonight would be a good first step and might offer a much-needed boost in confidence.

"We haven't played as well as we've wanted in the first two games," said Alfredsson yesterday. "We've been within dying minutes in the third period and we've had our chance to win them. We know we can play better.

"It's not like we're giving them our best and we don't have a chance. We feel we can be a lot better and I feel playing at home is going to bring that out of us. We fought through a lot of adversity throughout the year and the way we responded (during the season) makes me feel comfortable going into (tonight)."

Much was discussed during their 30-minute team meeting yesterday, but one of the biggest messages was about making sure the club dictates the play.

That wasn't the case in the first two games of the series when the Senators had only 36 shots. Instead of trying to control the Ducks, the club spent most of the time chasing the puck -- something that needs to change in the next couple of games.

"I believe we're a better team than the way we've played for two games," said coach Bryan Murray. "I'm not sure why ... I'm not even pretending to have the answer, but I know we're a better hockey team. And, we now have to prove it and that's what we'll try to do.

"There's no guarantees in this business. It's a game and you have to take it as that and understand that some nights things go for you and some nights they don't. We're hoping they fall in place as we go forward."

No kidding.

There was no panic in their voices as the Senators spoke yesterday. They're glad to be home and hopeful that having the fans on their side is going to play a big role in helping them get back into this series.

The Senators aren't happy with the way they've competed, but they're no longer complaining about the officials or the bad ice. They're simply trying to find answers to why they haven't shown the kind of consistency they had through the regular season.

There was no dramatic changes at practice. The top line of Dany Heatley, Jason Spezza and Alfredsson remained intact and the Senators are optimistic if they can get going, then the rest of the team will follow their leadership.

"We feel we have made life too easy on them," said Alfredsson. "And we've seen clips where we've been out of character, too, with the way we've played in the spring. That's why we felt good about the meeting we had and the adjustments we're going to make. We feel good going into (tonight)."

The Ducks aren't taking anything for granted because they've been in this situation before. Anaheim was down 2-0 to the New Jersey Devils in 2003 final and fought back to force a Game 7.

"I'm sure they want to have the best start they possibly can," said Anaheim coach Randy Carlyle. "I know our group is committed to playing our team game. I know that when the adversity has been dealt our way, we have found ways to overcome it.

"They've proven that as a group all year and it's not something new that's just happened in the playoffs."


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