OTTAWA - Smiles were easy to come by as the Senators posed for their team picture Thursday at Scotiabank Place.
Coming off an emotional 3-2 overtime victory over the New York Rangers in Game 4 of the Eastern quarter-final Wednesday night, the Senators were given the rest of the day off to relax and get ready for Game 5 Saturday night in New York.
With the series tied 2-2 and guaranteed of a return home for Game 6 Monday night at Scotiabank Place, the Senators now believe they’ve got the upper hand and all the pressure is on the Rangers.
“We feel like we can go into their rink and if we can put some pressure on them with an early lead they’ll grip their sticks a little tighter,” said centre Jason Spezza.
“But they’re a consistent team and that’s what they do best is play 60 minutes. ‘They are favourites, were making it a series and I’m sure they’re not that comfortable with that.”
Spezza said the break comes at a good time because it’s going to give the Rangers time to think, while the Senators can feel confident.
“They’re going home with two days off. We feel when you have a couple of days off it’s nice to come off a win,” said Spezza. “Maybe it gets them second-guessing what they’re doing.
“But, for the most part, it’s been such a close series I don’t think either team is going to abandon what they’re doing. Both teams feel good. You listen to them talk and they feel like they played a good game (Wednesday).
“In Game 3, we feel like we played a good game and lost (1-0). It’s that close. You’re going to see a very similar game in the next game that you’ve seen the first four games. It’s going to be tight-checking. That’s the nature of this series.”
It’s amazing the Senators are tied 2-2 in this series and have still yet to play with a lead. They came back to win in overtime in Game 2 and did the same in Game 4. The players know they’re playing with fire at the moment.
“It’s tough on us mentally to get behind,” said centre Zenon Konopka. “It’d be nice to score the first goal. It’s pretty draining mentally because you spend all your energy just trying to fight back.
“But I know ... we haven’t done anything easily all season, so why would we start now?”
Rangers coach John Tortorella gave his club Thursday off and kept the message positive. But, are his best players being his best players?
“I’m not about, in Game 4, to start naming names,” said Tortorella. “We’ve had some people, the secondary players, play some good minutes. I thought a number of players through our lineup have given us some good things.
“We’re going to win and lose as a team here. We just don’t get it done in OT. I thought we played a pretty good game here. We’ll just get ready for another one.”