EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) -- The Ottawa Senators were short on
cash in the regular season. Now they're rich with momentum in the
Eastern Conference finals.
Defenseman Chris Phillips scored 15:51 into overtime to lift the
Senators to a 2-1 victory Wednesday night and force a Game 7 on
Friday in Ottawa. It was the second straight game the Senators
fought off elimination.
"Even when we were down 3-1, there was not one guy in our
dressing room or organization that counted ourselves out,"
Vaclav Varada was trying to hit the loose puck in front of
Devils goalie Martin Brodeur, but all he was making contact with
was the New Jersey goalie. Trailing the play, Phillips found the
loose puck behind Varada and fired it into the net.
"I was just able to get in there and get a whack at it,"
Phillips said. "I didn't even realize it went in until the other
guys started celebrating."
New Jersey, trying to reach the Stanley Cup finals for the third
time in four years, has never lost a series in which it led 3-1.
The Senators have never advanced this far in the playoffs in their
"We have to play one game. That's going to be the hardest
game," said forward Marian Hossa who assisted on both Ottawa
goals. "We're going to be home and that's a good thing."
The West champion Anaheim Mighty Ducks haven't played since last
Friday, but will face the winner on the road in Game 1 of the
finals on Tuesday night.
"That's all we wanted to do, to have practice tomorrow,"
forward Bryan Smolinski said.
There have been 17 comebacks from 3-1 deficits, including three
in this year's playoffs.
"We have a big Game 7 ahead of us and we have to start thinking
about that," said Joe Nieuwendyk, who scored the Devils' goal.
The Senators, 4-0 in overtime in the postseason, filed for
bankruptcy and were late with players' paychecks during the season.
Now they have squared the series.
"We like our odds going back home, but we know we are going to
have to be better," Senators captain Daniel Alfredsson said.
"They are a veteran team that's going to come to Ottawa and play
The Devils were beaten on the road in Game 5 and then sustained
their first home loss in this postseason following an 8-0 start.
New Jersey sports 15 players who have won the Stanley Cup compared
to only one on the Senators.
"We're a good hockey club when our backs are up against the
wall," Devils forward John Madden said. "Sad to say, but that's
what it takes sometimes to see the character of this team."
Despite choppy ice that had to be attended to several times
during the game, both goalies were sharp. A daytime college
graduation held at the arena left holes in the ice in the neutral
In making 30 saves, Lalime looked more like the goalie who held
opponents to two goals or fewer in 11 straight playoff games than
the one who yielded 10 goals to the Devils in three consecutive
losses after Game 1.
Brodeur made 32 saves for New Jersey and has allowed just nine
goals in nine home playoff games.
New Jersey, on its first two-game losing streak of the playoffs,
tied it in the third period when Wade Redden was off for
On the power play, Scott Niedermayer sent the puck behind the
net to Jeff Friesen. He tried to slide the puck in front, but it
bounced off Senators defenseman Karel Rachunek, kneeling in front
The puck caromed into the pads of Lalime and out to Nieuwendyk,
who slid it back between the goalie's pads at 2:41 for his 60th
playoff goal. The Devils are just 3-of-21 on the power play in the
Nieuwendyk almost scored earlier, but Lalime stopped a breakaway
in the second period. Nieuwendyk left the ice with assistance after
the game due to an injury sustained in overtime.
Ottawa took a 1-0 lead with a power-play goal. The Senators
failed on their first 20 power-play attempts of the series before
rookie Jason Spezza scored in Game 5 to seal Ottawa's 3-1 victory
The Senators were 1-for-23 when Radek Bonk put the Senators in
Brodeur failed on a clearing attempt, and Hossa worked the puck
over to Bonk in the left circle. Bonk sneaked a shot between
Both teams had early chances that were turned away either by the
goalies or the posts.
Devils defenseman Colin White sent a fluttering shot from the
left point that got through and hit the crossbar less than four
minutes in. White also took the blame for leaving the front of the
net clear on the winning goal.
Jamie Langenbrunner hit the post in the third period as he was
seeking his first goal of the series for New Jersey after getting
seven in the first two rounds. Hossa also found the crossbar after
deflecting a shot in front late in the third.
D Ken Daneyko and RW Turner Stevenson returned to the New
Jersey lineup, replacing D Richard Smehlik and LW Jim McKenzie. ...
Hossa, Ottawa's leading playoff scorer, hasn't scored in nine
games. His longest drought in the regular season was seven. ...
Ottawa had 13 shots in the first period, but only 14 more the rest