“I think the word is confidence,” coach Paul MacLean said of what Anderson is providing the Senators. “He gives his teammates confidence to play, gives them the ability to go on the ice and play the game and not be worried that they can’t do things offensively and make mistakes and he won’t be there to help bail them out.”
“I think he’s also shown leadership. I think in this round he’s really stepped up and elevated his play, and helped a lot of his teammates with the pressures of playing in the playoffs.
“He’s probably, in my opinion, been our best player.”
Sounds like Jason Spezza agrees.
“He played a real solid game and he’s the backbone of our team,” Spezza said in the wake of Anderson’s second career playoff shutout. “You need good goaltending to win in the playoffs, and we’ve had exceptional goaltending. You can tell he’s a confident, calm guy, and he’s playing that way, and hopefully continues.”
Highly touted prospect Jakob Silfverberg apparently lost his sticks at the airport in Frankfurt, but unless he also lost his way here, the winger could make his NHL debut in Game 6. Silfverberg was to arrive in Ottawa Sunday.
“He’s on our roster, he’s a player available to us,” said MacLean. “We’re going to consider all our options before game time (Monday). Once he’s here and with us, we’ll consider him.”
While some might be reluctant to tinker with a winning lineup, all reports suggest Silfverberg is not only a future star, but that he would adapt quickly to the NHL style of play. Presuming the return of Daniel Alfredsson will put either Bobby Butler or Mark Stone in the press box, dressing Silfverberg would likely cost the other his spot on the roster.
Butler only played 9:23 of Saturday’s game, while Stone saw 8:43 of work in his NHL debut.
Stone, of course, made an immediate impact when he set up Jason Spezza for the game’s first goal. The big teenager also remains an enticing option for the power play.
Upon returning from his first trip to New York, Stone admitted he had trouble sleeping.
“I was obviously pretty excited after the game, getting the win, your first game at Madison Square Garden,” he said Sunday. “It was a night I’ll always remember.”
THE ROAR FROM THE FLOOR
Anticipated at Scotiabank Place Monday is the loudest crowd in at least five years, since the Senators were in the Stanley Cup final. Players readily admit the fans were a factor in the Game 4 rally that ultimately saw them score a 3-2 come-from-behind overtime victory.
A TV timeout moments after Milan Michalek scored Ottawa’s first goal allowed the patrons to scream and cheer their support for a solid two minutes.
“When you play at home, the crowd can give you that lift you need,” said Jason Spezza. “We saw that in the game here we came back. We were down 2-0, there was a couple of good momentum shifts, then that crowd kicks in and gives you that extra jump you need. Sometimes it can help you take over a game, put some pressure on the other team. You try to use the crowd to your advantage.”
Meanwhile, Alfredsson appreciates the new tradition of his name being chanted with 11 minutes left in each period.
“It’s obviously pretty neat,” he said. “It felt pretty good, especially when I was sitting at home.”
THEY SAID IT
“For sure, I think he’s got a trillion points on the power play.” — Nick Foligno, when asked if the return of Daniel Alfredsson could help address the struggling unit.
“I think so. It’s that time of year. The whole team is playing well and playing together. I would have to say ya.” —coach Paul MacLean, when asked if the Senators are playing the best they have all season.
“To go there and fly, all the bussing in the city ... we talked about it, and it’s better if I just sit in Kanata and relax, and get better. That’s what we did.” — Daniel Alfredsson, on why he didn’t accompany the team to New York for Game 5.
THIS AND THAT
Despite the rant of Rangers coach John Tortorella, the league did not deem illegal Chris Neil’s hit on Brian Boyle ... Zenon Konopka’s playoff-leading success rate in the faceoff circles is now up to 72.3% ... As of Sunday afternoon, only 50 tickets were available for Game 6. Consider them now gone.
THE LAST WORD
“It’s the next game. Make sure we’re ready to play. We know it’s going to be physical, we know it’s going to be hard. We have to make sure we just get a little bit better again, make sure we’re ready to go.” — the approach Senators coach Paul MacLean will preach to his players as they prepare to try and eliminate the New York Rangers.