Monday, April 19, 2004

Sens stave off elimination with double-OT win

The Associated Press

OTTAWA - Daniel Alfredsson delivered on the first part of his guarantee. Now he and the Ottawa Senators have a chance to fulfill their promise.

Mike Fisher scored 1:47 into double overtime to give Ottawa a 2-1 win over the Toronto Maple Leafs on Sunday night and force a seventh and deciding game in the first-round playoff series.

The Sens have been eliminated from the playoffs by the Maple Leafs in three of the past four years. Game 7 is Tuesday in Toronto.

Following a 2-0 loss in Game 5 Friday, Alfredsson - the Senators captain - guaranteed his club would win Games 6 and 7.

"I don't think you've seen the last of us yet," Alfredsson said following a closed-door meeting. "We're going to go home, win and force Game 7. Then we'll come back in here and we'll win the series."

Fisher made Alfredsson's promise come true when he redirected Antoine Vermette's pass across the crease into a wide-open left side, setting off a wild celebration.

CANUCKS-FLAMES: After getting even with a triple-overtime victory early Sunday morning in Calgary, the Vancover Canucks returned home to host a Game 7 for the third straight series. "Experience is a big factor," said Canucks forward Mike Keane, who will be playing his 10th Game 7 tonight. "Experience just gives you less shock."

That's good news for the Canucks, who only have two players without previous Game 7 experience. For most, the reference point is as recent as last season when the Canucks went the distance twice.

Vancouver won the first in the opening round, completing a comeback from a 3-1 series deficit to knock off St. Louis, then lost the decisive game in the conference semifinals to Minnesota after squandering a 3-1 series lead.

BRUINS-CANADIENS: The Bruins expected to spend Patriots Day today getting ready for the second round of the playoffs instead of fighting to get in it. But that's the situation they're in after the Montreal Canadiens won two straight games to even the series 3-3. Game 7 is tonight in Boston. "I don't think we were overconfident, but when you're up 3-1 it's a lot harder to be desperate then when you're down 3-1," said goaltender Andrew Raycroft. "I don't think anyone expects us to win now, so if anything maybe the pressure's off us a little bit."

The B's are 14-0 in playoff series they've led 3-1; the Canadiens have never come back from that deficit to win. In fact, it's the first time since 1954 that Montreal has forced a Game 7 in a series it trailed 3-1.

"Probably the worst thing to do is to say something going into Game 7," said Canadiens forward Alex Kovalev, who has an NHL-high five playoff goals. "It should be the same as any other game."

2004 Stanley Cup playoff overtime goals

April 18 - Ottawa 2, Toronto 1, 2OT; Mike Fisher, 1:47.

April 17 - Vancouver 5, Calgary 4, 3OT; Brendan Morrison, 2:28.

April 16 - Tampa Bay 3, N.Y. Islanders 2, OT; Martin St. Louis, 4:07.

April 14 - Colorado 3, Dallas 2, 2OT; Marek Svatos, 5:18.

April 13 - Boston 4, Montreal 3, 2OT; Glen Murray, 9:27.

April 12 - Dallas 4, Colorado 3, OT; Steve Ott, 2:11.

April 9 - Boston 2, Montreal 1, OT; Patrice Bergeron, 1:26.

April 8 - San Jose 1, St. Louis 0, OT; Niko Dimitrakos, 9:16.

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