Alfredsson has guaranteed a series win

Updated: April 21, 2004, 2:34 PM ET
Associated Press

OTTAWA -- Daniel Alfredsson stands by his word.

Following a 2-0 loss to the Toronto Maple Leafs in Game 5 of the first-round series, the Ottawa captain insisted his team would advance by winning the next two games. Game 6 is Sunday night.

"He's our leader and he's showing confidence in us as a group," center Mike Fisher said after practice Saturday. "We've got to respond to that. We've got our backs against the wall and we've got to fight to the end."

History is not on Ottawa's side. When facing elimination, the Senators are 2-7; they are 3-3 in Game 6s.

Ottawa's two wins came last season against New Jersey in the conference final. After falling behind 3-1 in the series the Senators won two straight to force a Game 7, which they lost.

"There's no question in my mind we have the team to do it," Alfredsson said. "I think there are some things we have to do better, but we know what's on the line and that usually brings the best out of us."

The Senators had a closed-door meeting Saturday to discuss Game 5. The performance was one of the team's worst in playoff history, and even Senators general manager John Muckler shared his regret with the players.

"That's the biggest thing, I was disappointed," Muckler said. "I was confused. I don't know why it happened. I don't have any answers. ... I just know it can't happen again."

Over the years, the Senators' will has been a topic of debate. Especially when it comes to the Maple Leafs, whom Ottawa has never beaten in a playoff series.

"Everybody has an opinion and obviously people are going to say what they want to say," defenseman Curtis Leschyshyn said. "We have faith in ourselves in this locker room and we have faith in the ability that we can beat Toronto."

Leschyshyn is not alone in believing the Senators can finally beat the Leafs.

"I never questioned the character of our team," Muckler said. "I know the character's there."

Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press