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Quest for the Cup: Does Ottawa have any fight left?

By Chris Peters | Hockey Writer

Daniel Alfredsson and the Ottawa Senators are on the brink of elimination in Pittsburgh. (USATSI)
Daniel Alfredsson and the Ottawa Senators are on the brink of elimination in Pittsburgh. (USATSI)

More NHL Playoffs: Scores | TV Schedule | Expert Picks | Odds | Mock Draft | Rumors

First star game of the day

Game 5 (PIT 3-1), Ottawa at Pittsburgh, 7:30 p.m. ET (NBCSN):

After the demoralizing 7-3 loss on home ice in Game 4, the Ottawa Senators sure seemed cooked. Pittsburgh took a commanding 3-1 series lead and pushed the Sens to the brink of elimination.

In head coach Paul MacLean's now infamous 13-second press conference he said, “We are coming to Pittsburgh and we are coming to play.”

MacLean drew heat for his brevity, but quite simply, there's not much else to say in the situation the Senators are in. If Ottawa wants to survive, they better come to play with their best effort Friday night.

The Penguins made an emphatic statement in Game 4 in Ottawa, reminding everyone of just what they're capable of. It was the most lopsided game of the playoffs, but the Senators were just days removed from pulling off a huge overtime win and had hung with the Penguins closely enough to compete throughout the series.

That didn't prevent even Senators captain Daniel Alfredsson from admitting that his club probably couldn't come back in the series after the game. He has since backed off those comments, saying they were taken out of context, but it was a telling show of frustration from the team's leader.

The Senators may not only be playing for their lives Friday night, but to also try and extend Alfredsson's career at least a few more games. Speculation is increasing that the Ottawa captain will retire at year's end.

Beating the Penguins in three straight very well could be impossible, but the games still have to be played. The only question is, will the Senators “come to play” in them? If they don't Friday night, it could all be over quickly.

Snap shots

- Rob Rossi sat down with NHL commissioner Gary Bettman and covered a lot of ground including the latest on the Olympics, the upcoming outdoor games and Pittsburgh's growth as a hockey market. (Pittsburgh Tribune-Review)

- The “Pesky Sens” face their biggest adversity yet in the playoffs. (National Post)

- Chris Kreider's OT winner in Game 4 is reminded Rangers fans of the surprising show he put on last postseason. (New York Times)

- The London Knights will meet the Portland Winterhawks in the semifinals at the 2013 Memorial Cup Friday night. The winner takes on the Halifax Mooseheads in the championship game. As many as nine first-round candidates for this year's NHL Draft -- including the consensus top three in Seth Jones, Nathan MacKinnon and Jonathan Drouin -- remain in the tournament. (NHL.com)

- Jimmy Howard has been incredible for the Red Wings in their series against Chicago. He got a special congratulatory handshake after Thursday night's shutout from the one and only Gordie Howe. Just like his old playing days, Mr. Hockey elbowed his way right through that media scrum. Great stuff. (NHL.com)

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