Time running out for Sens

BRUCE GARRIOCH, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 10:08 AM ET

PITTSBURGH — History suggests the Senators are finished.

Ottawa has never rallied from being down 3-1 in a series the four times it’s happened and is 4-11 lifetime in games when facing elimination.

That’s the scenario the Senators face as they get set to face the Penguins Thursday at Mellon Arena in Game 5.

“Being down 3-1 is a tough position to be in to come back because (rallies don’t) happen a lot,” Senators captain Daniel Alfredsson said Wednesday. “You just know that if you don’t give it your all, then it’s not going to happen.

“We’re going to go in there, it’s one game, and all we can do is try to bring it back here for one game (Saturday) and take it from there. Our focus is just one game.

“We’ve just got to focus and prepare that it’s the biggest game that we’ve ever played. Hopefully, we can come out with a win. It’s pretty simple. At the same time, when you’re down 3-1 and after the way we played (in Game 4), it’s easy to get down on yourself. We can’t let that happen.”

After losing two straight at home to the Penguins, there’s nothing to suggest the Senators are capable of reeling off three wins against the defending Stanley Cup champions.

The Penguins have pounced on just about every mistake Ottawa has made.

Coach Cory Clouston said some players are making too many costly mistakes.

“If we can manage the puck better, and it’s not a whole team, it’s certain individuals that have to be better. We have to rely on them to make the right play and the safe play, then we should be able to get offence from that,” said Clouston.

Clouston wasn’t naming names, it was an obvious shot at centre Jason Spezza, whose errant drop pass led to Sidney Crosby’s first goal of the game on Tuesday.

Clouston said some players are trying to do too much.

“For sure there (are),” said Clouston. “There’s a lot of pressure on certain individuals and it’s not from a lack of effort. I don’t see any quit in our guys. I thought they worked hard and, at times, they didn’t work smart.

“Sometimes we make uncharacteristic plays. We’ve just got to make sure, right from the offensive zone back into our own zone, we’re a lot more structured.

“During the (regular) season, the only reason we had success is because we played as a team. We played with structure and we didn’t make those mistakes.”

Spezza said the Senators have to keep it simple.

“We just have to try to find confidence wherever we can find it right now,” said Spezza. “We’ve been a team that can put together a long winning streak after a bad losing streak. We’re hoping we can string together a few wins, but we’re not looking that far ahead.”

A-train’s last game?

If the Senators lose Thursday night, it could be D Anton Volchenkov’s last game in an Ottawa uniform. He will be an unrestricted free agent at the end of the season and turned down a five-year offer from GM Bryan Murray before the Olympic break. While talks will continue in the off-season, the going price for a shutdown blueliner on the open market is around $5 million US a season. He will easily get that from somebody on July 1. There is a lot of speculation the Capitals will make a pitch. Volchenkov was an ugly minus-3 in Game 4 Tuesday.

THIS AND THAT

Ottawa’s power play has gone 6-for-14 in the first four games of the series ... The Senators have an 11-1 record in OT all-time in the playoffs ... Coming off back-to-back losses at home to the Penguins, the Senators haven’t beaten Pittsburgh at Scotiabank Place since April 19, 2007 in Round 1 of the playoffs ... The Senators are 26-26 lifetime in playoff games at home. The club is 23-31 lifetime on the road in the post-season ... Penguins D Brooks Orpik, who won a silver medal with the U.S. at the Vancouver Olympics, was invited to the White House Wednesday with the rest of the U.S. Olympians, but passed on the invitation because of the playoffs.

bruce.garrioch@sunmedia.ca


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