SPORTS

Cameron says blocked shots are big reason for Senators' latest success

04/25/2015 06:18 EDT | Updated 07/26/2015 05:59 EDT
OTTAWA - The Ottawa Senators will tell you their unsung sacrifices have played a huge role in the getting them back into their first-round series against the Montreal Canadiens.

Down 3-0 to the Canadiens, Ottawa has won two straight and will look to tie the series Sunday night at Canadian Tire Centre.

Head coach Dave Cameron says that seeing his team block shots, take whacks on the back of the legs as they try to mess with the goaltender's sight lines, take hits to make a play, and playing through injuries is inspiring.

"The reason this team is on the roll it's on is they do that," said Cameron. "It's a sign, from a coaching point of view, it's a sign that your team is committed to winning at all costs. You see guys in front of P.K. Subban teeing it up and they're going to be there and they're going to continue to be there. It's one of those intangibles that goes into winning."

Seeing Jean-Gabriel Pageau get in front of a P.K. Subban one-timer didn't go unnoticed by teammates.

"It lifts the team, it lifts the bench," said Cameron. "He did it the other game on the penalty kill and he came off and he's smiling. He's in pain and he's smiling and that's a huge contradiction, but it's winning hockey we call it."

Following Friday's game Subban wished Pageau "the best of luck," saying "it's only going to get harder as the series goes on." Pageau replied: "I don't care if his shots get harder. I'm not moving."

During the regular season the Senators were 25th in blocked shots, averaging 12.74 per game. So far in the playoffs, they are averaging 20 per game and sit fourth.

Pageau and defencemen Marc Methot and Mark Borowiecki lead the way with 14 blocked shots each. Pageau and New York Islanders' Frans Nielsen's 14 blocked shots lead all forwards through the playoffs.

Pageau says he definitely gives some thought before getting in front of a shot, but his instinct usually wins out.

"You always think about it," said Pageau. "(Subban) has a bomb like we say and for sure you always think about it, but you want to block that shot for the team and I guess the team comes first over your thoughts."

Methot says seeing teammates sacrifice their bodies can be contagious, making other players want to do their part as well.

"When you see guys go all in like that it revs up the team," said Methot. "We feed off that energy and we've just got to keep doing that."

While the Senators know there's much work left to be done, they say their confidence has grown as the series progresses.

"We know now that we can do this," said Methot. "Not to say that we were lacking confidence at the start of the series, but you just don't know how these things are going to work out and when you come out of the gate and you're down 3-0 in a series a lot of stuff runs through your mind.

"It shows how resilient this group is, how mentally strong we can be and tough, and I like our chances."

Notes: Cameron is hoping to have everyone back in the lineup for Sunday's game, but said he was still waiting for updates. Left winger Clarke MacArthur left Friday's game in the second period and did not return.

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