|Ottawa's Antoine Vermette is a believer|
|Written by Admin|
|Tuesday, 05 June 2007 14:46|
One reason Vermette is convinced is because he's been there before.
``My first year in juniors, we were in the same situation, and we won,'' Vermette said after practice Tuesday at the Honda Center, where the Ducks will attempt to win their first Cup on Wednesday night in Game 5 of the finals.
Vermette was 16 and playing for the Quebec Ramparts in 1999 when they beat Rimouski in the playoffs by coming back from a 3-1 deficit to win that best-of-seven series.
``The first thing is you've got to believe,'' Vermette said. ``If you don't, there's no point in showing up. It's a great chance we have here - we're still alive. A lot of players don't ever get this far.
``I know it's said a lot of times in the hockey world - you want to give yourself a chance to go home.''
The Senators, playing in the postseason for the 10th straight year - the longest current streak by a team from Canada - beat each of their three Eastern Conference opponents in five games. It's been a different story against the Ducks, who won Games 1, 2 and 4 with a third-period goal.
Each of the Senators' six postseason losses have been by one goal including Monday night's 3-2 loss in Ottawa in Game 4.
``We're trying to score goals when we should just be playing,'' Senators coach Bryan Murray said. ``We're taking all kinds of chances. They're creating all their offense off our mistakes because we're gambling just to keep the puck in play where a third man is jumping in.
``As I told them, it's just not the way we played in the first three rounds. We didn't take many chances. We played not conservative. ... We had our defense positioned positively.''
Murray said it was just the opposite for Anaheim.
``(The Ducks) are very, very patient when they don't have the puck,'' the coach said. ``Hopefully we will play the way we are supposed to and have been playing up until we started here.''
Vermette agreed, saying: ``They're a very patient team - a very defense-minded-first team. We don't get as many chances as we did in the first three series. You've got to create your chances differently, go into the lower part of the zone, winning some battles in deep.''
Murray said he doesn't believe the pressure of playing in the finals has been a problem.
``Maybe a little anxious,'' he said of his team. ``But I don't think it's anything more than they've gone through the pressure part. They've handled that. I think beating out the teams on the East, when you had to play well to kind of get a reputation, I think we've done that fine.
``It's just not handling this as well as we want to. We'll see if we can handle the pressure of being on the edge.''
Senators center Dean McAmmond, who didn't play in Game 4 because of what team officials labeled a concussion resulting from an elbow by Ducks defenseman Chris Pronger in the third game, skated Tuesday and might go in Game 5.
Pronger was suspended for Game 4 by the NHL, but will return to action Wednesday night. The Ducks are 2-0 in games following Pronger's playoff suspensions.
``Dean McAmmond said his hands aren't as good as they used to be, but other than that, he's fine,'' Murray said. ``We'll see tomorrow if he can play. He's still a game-time decision.''
Anaheim's Shawn Thornton said he hopes McAmmond is healthy.
``As far as whether he plays or not, I don't think it makes a difference as far as our preparations are concerned,'' Thornton said. ``I don't think Prongs intentionally hurt him, that's for sure.''
Murray called his team's mood ``OK'' entering what could be its final game until next fall.
``It's certainly not on a high, but I think come game-time tomorrow, we'll give it the shot we have to give,'' he said.