The Senators head in to Game 6 hoping to write more history. So few teams have tied a series after being down 3-0, let alone go on to win a game 7. The Toronto Maple Leafs almost did it 2 years ago against the Boston Bruins, and that was the last time that came close to happening in the Eastern conference. Now, the Senators want to take aim at the NHL record books.
By pushing their playoff series to at least six games, the Ottawa Senators have already inked a footnote in the Montreal Canadiens’ history. In their extensive and celebrated history, the Canadiens had previously led a best-of-seven series 3-0 on 33 occasions. The Senators are only the third team to have been able to climb back to 3-2 against them.
If on Sunday, the Senators can tie the series 3-3 with a win in Game 6 at Canadian Tire Centre in Ottawa, it will become the first time a Canadiens team has allowed an opponent to even up a series after taking up a 3-0 lead. Only nine teams in NHL history have evened a series 3-3 after losing the opening three games and four out of those nine — the 2014 Los Angeles Kings, the 2010 Philadelphia Flyers, the 1975 New York Islanders and the 1942 Toronto Maple Leafs — went on to win the series 4-3.
Ottawa has managed not to stay down when they got down. They are all up in Montreal’s kitchen, clanking the pots and pans, making a huge mess for the Habs who thought this would be a quick and clean win. “I’m not saying I’m in there cooking bacon … but we’re frustrating them,” jokingly said Ottawa defenceman Eric Gryba to media on Saturday. “The physical play we’re bringing, they might be starting to feel more bumps and bruises here and there as this series progresses.”
Coming off a 5-1 pounding of the Habs Friday night, the Senators were feeling confident as they got a day off to get rested for Game 6 Sunday night which should take almost everything they got. Montreal is not a team that will take this lying down either. The old hockey truism says that “the fourth game is the toughest one to win” and fans can get the sense the Habs have started feeling that way and will tighten up tonight because they’ve allowed the Senators to get back into the series again.
“I don’t really care what their mindset is,” Gryba said. “We have to win four games to win this series and I’ve said that since before Game 1. It’s one of those things where we’ve got to show up (Sunday), win a game and then go back to Montreal.”
“The building is going to be awesome. We’re starting to get some momentum here. The guys are feeling good by winning two games in a row. Personally, I think this is our series to lose right now. We’re feeling really good.”
“I like our chances.” – Marc Methot
The Senators looked good as well on Friday night and are hoping to take that momentum back home. They got contributions from everybody Friday, including a two-goal game from winger Bobby Ryan and 45 stops from goalie Craig Anderson.
“We’ve been focusing on the right things. We’ve been in situations where we’re not where we want to be and we’ve found ways to dig ourselves out of the hole,” said Anderson pre-game. “We’re in that situation right now where we’re still in the hole and we’re still digging.” Montreal gave them the breathing space to dig back up, they took their foot off the gas and the Sens got back in the race because of it. So now, the Sens’ have got their confidence and swagger back.
“Getting those two wins brings a lot life to this club and it allows us to assert ourselves. We know now that we can do this,” said Sens defenceman Marc Methot. “Not to say we were lacking confidence at the start of the series, but you don’t know how these things are going to work out when you come out of the gate and you are down 3-0 in a series, a lot of stuff runs through your mind. “It shows how resilient this group is, how mentally strong we can be and tough. I like our chances.”
We like their chances too – and hopefully a game 7 is in the future. The heat is on the Habs and the Senators are sizzling.
Our Pick: Sens over Habs in OT