OTTAWA – He’s never won a Game 7 in the Stanley Cup playoffs and Daniel Alfredsson thinks his Ottawa Senators are long overdue.
Alfredsson and the Sens are looking to extend their season Thursday as they take on the New York Rangers in Game 7 of their Eastern Conference quarter-final series.
Ottawa has an 0-for-4 franchise record in Game 7s and Alfredsson, who has never played for another NHL team, is ready to put an end to that losing streak.
“There’s no better time than (Thursday),” said Alfredsson. “Every year is different, every group is different. There’s so many stats you can pay attention to, but I’ve said this group has been resilient all year long and we’re looking for one more effort here from everybody and if we get that we’ll keep playing.”
The game could be notable for more than who advances to the next round. Alfredsson has hinted in the past that he might be playing in his final playoffs, making his appearance at Madison Square Garden possibly the last time the 39-year-old captain suits up for the Senators.
But Alfredsson and the Senators will have plenty of confidence heading into New York, having already won two out of three games on the Rangers’ home ice.
After squandering the opportunity to win the series Monday night, goaltender Craig Anderson believes his teammates will give it all they have Thursday.
“We have to lay everything out there because there is no tomorrow,” said Anderson. “We have an opportunity to do something great and keep pushing forward. … if we have everyone working together and we lay it all out there we can look at ourselves in the mirror at the end and say we gave it our all regardless of the result.
“But obviously we’d like to win.”
For most teams playing on the road wouldn’t likely be the first choice, but this season the Senators played some of their best hockey away from Scotiabank Place with a 21-14-6 away record.
“We’ve had some success in New York and played some good hockey there,” said centre Zack Smith. “We’ve faltered a bit at home and I don’t know if it’s nerves or being a little bit anxious, but we’ve usually been solid on the road.
“One of the sayings is you play a simple road game, which is basically nothing pretty. Get pucks deep to the net and score some greasy goals, not pretty ones, and I think that’s the style we’ve played on the road it’s worked for us so far.”
A better power play will be one of the keys to Ottawa playing in the next round. The Senators went 1-for-5 in Game 6 and are 3-for-24 overall.
The man advantage has been at its best when players have gone to the net creating traffic in front of Rangers goaltender Henrik Lundqvist. Forward Colin Greening spent time in front of the net at practice Wednesday and could see time on the first unit.
Ottawa has made a number of roster changes throughout the series with Mark Stone and Jakob Silfverberg both making their NHL debuts, and Wednesday’s practice saw defenceman Mark Borowiecki on the ice.
Senators coach Paul MacLean wouldn’t tip his hand as to who might find themselves in Thursday’s lineup with players continuing to be evaluated.
“Ultimately I’ll have to make the final decision as to who gives us the best chance to win the game (Thursday) and that’s what it’s based on every day for every game,” said MacLean.
Notes: Neither defenceman Matt Carkner nor centre Zenon Konopka took part in practice, but MacLean said both were given maintenance days.