Sens rediscover confidence

The Senators found renewed confidence in their scoring abilities on Saturday. (Sun Media/Sean...

The Senators found renewed confidence in their scoring abilities on Saturday. (Sun Media/Sean Kilpatrick)

BRUCE GARRIOCH -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 9:04 AM ET

Can the Senators keep it up?

The Senators got off the mat with a strong effort in a 5-3 win over the Ducks on Saturday in Game 3 of the Stanley Cup final, cutting Anaheim's lead in the best-of-seven series to 2-1.

With another strong game tonight, the Senators can send the series back to California on even footing.

"Every game in every series is always the biggest game," defenceman Chris Phillips said yesterday. "The reality is, none of them are must wins until you're facing elimination.

"But when you look at momentum and how a series goes, it was a huge win for us (Saturday) night, but it takes away a lot from that if we go down 3-1 (tonight). (Saturday's win gives) us an opportunity to tie the series up and not (be) down 3-0. We're 100% focused. We're not overexcited because we won one game."

Nor should they be.

There is plenty of work left if the Senators are indeed going to return to Anaheim with a realistic chance to win the Cup.

'DO OR DIE'

"(Saturday) was our biggest game. The next one is even bigger," said centre Jason Spezza. "Every one from here on in is going to be even bigger. We know we have to be ready every night. We spotted them a two-win lead and we're stuck chasing from behind. Every game is do or die for us."

So do the Senators now have the momentum?

"Momentum is a little bit overrated because everybody thought they would have the momentum coming here," said Spezza. "This is about confidence and if we can win (tonight), we're going to have a lot of confidence going to Anaheim and probably give our best effort going into that rink. We get it to 2-2, we'll make it a whole new series."

Coach Bryan Murray said the club must build on the win.

"The confidence level is different than (yesterday), than it was going into the game (Saturday)," said Murray. "And I think we'll play accordingly. I hope we'll play accordingly."

GETTING TOUGH: The Senators expect the physical play in this series will continue in Game 4. The bad blood started to build as Game 3 went on and culminated with Chris Pronger's elbow to the head of Dean McAmmond. The Senators responded physically, led by rugged W Chris Neil. "We've got nothing to be afraid of here," said Neil. "It's a game, you go out and you play hard and the rest takes care of itself. They've got some big bodies over there ... well we've got some big bodies in here. They're a physical team, but we've answered the bell." Phillips said the hitting is only going to get harder the longer the series goes. "The series isn't going to get any less physical," said Phillips. "At the same time, you can't be doing stupid things to take penalties and be selfish to get a guy back and put the team short-handed. You have to be smart about it. It's going to be a hard-fought series."

NO DECISION: C Peter Forsberg hasn't decided if he'll return to the NHL next season, but if he does it will be with one of three teams: The Flyers, Predators or Avalanche. He's also considering an offer to play for Modo in the Swedish league. Forsberg wants to rest his sore feet and won't make a decision until August. The chatter around the NHL is the Flyers don't want Forsberg back and he'll likely sign with the Avs.

OFF THE GLASS: Senators owner Eugene Melnyk was on the bench for a brief time during practice yesterday, talking to the players before retreating to the stands for the rest of it. Melnyk had no comment about Pronger's hit on McAmmond, but met with GM John Muckler and Murray after practice ... Senators RW Dany Heatley didn't take part in the club's 30-minute workout yesterday. Murray said he was given the day off. Expect to see RW Patrick Eaves will take McAmmond's spot on the roster.


Videos

Photos