Sens not out of the woods quite yet

BRUCE GARRIOCH, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 9:09 PM ET

The Senators gutted out a victory in Game 5.

Now it remains to be seen if they can gut out the series.

The Senators took a well-deserved rest Friday after playing nearly two games in a 4-3 triple-OT victory over the Penguins Thursday in Pittsburgh because they will need every ounce of energy possible for Game 6.

As exciting as Matt Carkner’s winning goal at 7:06 of the third OT was, the Senators still trail 3-2 in the series and face another must-win Saturday at Scotiabank Place if they’re going to force a dramatic Game 7 Tuesday back in Pittsburgh.

The Senators hope they gained some momentum.

“This team we’re playing knows how to deal with the ups and downs of the playoffs. It’s starting right back over again,” said Ottawa centre Matt Cullen.

The Senators haven’t left themselves any room to falter and that’s the biggest issue they face in a second elimination game.

“We have a day to rest, so we’ll definitely be ready for (Saturday),” said Carkner.

Sure, it was a big victory, but the Senators need to pull off a second straight win to make it meaningful. They have yet to win a game in this series at home and coach Cory Clouston bristled at the suggestion the club hasn’t played well in Ottawa.

“I think in one game we’ve played poorly at home,” maintained Clouston. “In Game 3, we played very well. You guys make way too much out of one game. We’re not going to play our best every night against arguably the top team in the league, the defending Stanley Cup champions.”

People will be willing to listen to Clouston’s argument if the Senators go on to win the series, but in this case, actions speak louder than the words.

The Senators can’t afford another loss on home ice. They need their best performance now.

Tough night

As the Senators sat in their dressing room between periods with time seemingly ticking away on their season Thursday at Mellon Arena, there were no inspirational speeches.

“There wasn’t a lot of talking going on,” said Cullen, who added the players were trying to dry their equipment and putting on dry clothing underneath as well.

The players tried to keep their energy up by eating fruit and bread. Some teams order pizza. The Senators, who have a pre-game meal at noon and a light snack around 4 p.m. before going to the rink, wanted to keep their intake light.

“It was hard. You just try to eat a little bit and drink, obviously, so you don’t cramp up,” said Daniel Alfredsson. “You just have to believe that one guy (in the room) is going to be the hero.”


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