April 25, 2012
Sens hoping for seventh heavenOttawa's never won a Game 7, will Thursday be different story?
By Bruce Garrioch, QMI AGENCY
NEW YORK — If the Senators want to be giant killers, they’ll have to do something they’ve never done before: Win a Game 7.
It comes down to Thursday night at Madison Square Garden, where the Rangers have never lost a Game 7.
On Wednesday, the Senators prepared for the fifth Game 7 in club history. The club has a 0-4 record, the last loss a 4-1 defeat April 20, 2004 vs. the Maple Leafs.
The Senators aren’t worried about the past but they’d like to erase that stat from the record books.
“There’s no better time than to start (Thursday),” said captain Daniel Alfredsson. “Every year is different. Every group is different. There are so many stats you can (look at).
“This group has been a resilient group all year long. We’re looking for one more (strong) effort from everybody and if we get that, we’ll keep playing.”
The Senators don’t have a whole lot of experience in Game 7 at the NHL level. This isn’t just any other night and they aren’t going to approach it that way. That being said, the Senators have to remain on an even keel.
Coming off a 3-2 loss to the Rangers in Game 6, the Senators believe they’re on the verge of something special, a No. 8 seed knocking off the No. 1-ranked Rangers and Ottawa moving onto Round 2 for the first time since 2007.
“It’s do or die. Everybody understands the mentality,” said winger Nick Foligno. “We don’t think we have to change a lot. We know that we’ve played really well to this point in the series and we have to keep our emotions in check.
“We just have to concern ourselves with the way we play and I’m sure we’re going to do really well. We just have to play our game. If we keep our focus, we’re a really good team and we’re a really dangerous team.”
Goaltender Craig Anderson has never played a Game 7. He lost in a six-game series against the San Jose Sharks in 2010 and is trying not to change his approach as he faces the most pressure-packed game of his career.
“We’ve got nothing to lose,” said Anderson. “We’ve set the table and now we’ve got to go eat. We knew it was going to be a long series, we went in open minded and we had a good feeling that there was an opportunity to beat these guys.
“It‘s coming down to one game. It’s coming down to who wants it more for that one game. You don’t know, it may come down to a lucky bounce off the glass that ends up in the slot. Who knows what’s going to happen in Game 7?
“You just go out there, you play as a unit, play as a team and how it ends it up, that’s just fate.”
Senators coach Paul MacLean, behind the bench for his first Game 7, joked about the old Smythe Division battles between the Jets and Edmonton Oilers during the years Wayne Gretzky and Co. were winning titles.
“We were lucky to get to four (games),” said MacLean with a smile. “In the seven years I was there, we played 28 games against Edmonton and I think it was four every time for them, so, no, (I don’t have) a seventh-game experience.”
He won’t have to wait much longer.
PAIN IN THE SEVENTH
The Senators have never won a Game 7
1997 vs. Buffalo: 4-3 (Round 1)
2002 vs. Toronto: 3-0 (Round 2)
2003 vs. New Jersey: 4-3 (Round 3)
2004 vs. Toronto: 4-1 (Round 1)