OTTAWA -- Down to their last out, the Ottawa Senators plan on retreating to the style that brought them to the Eastern Conference finals.
That means the neutral zone should be a crowded piece of ice when the Pittsburgh Penguins look to eliminate the Senators on Tuesday night at Canadian Tire Centre.
"We can't be sitting in our mud puddle," Senators coach Guy Boucher said Monday, less than 24 hours after a 7-0 shellacking put Ottawa behind 3-2 in the best-of-seven series. "We've got to get up and go."
Boucher said the Senators opened up early in the Game 5 loss, and that was what got them in trouble. He has since had what he feels were productive conversations with the team about returning to a 1-3-1 defensive structure for which he has become known.
"We went in last game trying to run and gun it with the best offensive team in the league, and that's the result we got," Boucher said. "We got slapped, and hard enough. So the reality sets back in, and we know how we have to play to give ourselves a chance. I have total confidence in them that they will, and then the game goes on, and we need to manage what we need to manage at that point."
There exists the possibility that no matter what the Senators do, it may not be enough to stop a Penguins team that appears to be operating on all cylinders.
Held without a point in the first two games, Pittsburgh captain Sidney Crosby scored in each of the next three. Fellow star Evgeni Malkin had three assists and was dominant in Game 5, when the Penguins had seven different goal-scorers.
Pittsburgh coach Mike Sullivan juggled his lines so all of them have a combination of finesse and grit. The result saw the Penguins break through the security guarding the Senators' zone to score five goals from within 13 feet of the net.
"I think it's critically important that we have that determination and play with that necessary conviction in order to give ourselves the best chance to win," Sullivan said as the Penguins try to become the first team to play in consecutive Stanley Cup finals since they and the Detroit Red Wings met in in 2008 and 2009.
"So we talk a lot about the puck battles and the thankless jobs that you can't necessarily quantify, but they help teams win. And those thankless jobs are critically important at this time of year."
The Senators will go back to No. 1 goalie Craig Anderson, who was pulled in Game 5 after giving up four goals on 14 shots. Boucher also said defenseman Erik Karlsson and center Derick Brassard, who were in the dressing room nursing injuries at the conclusion of the Sunday game, would be good to go.
After frittering away a 3-1 series lead against Washington before finally winning Game 7, Pittsburgh thinks it is better prepared to close out Ottawa with the first chance.
Crosby said the Penguins didn't play with enough desperation when they had the Capitals down.
"We have to learn from that and make sure it's there (Tuesday) night," Crosby said. "I think that it's something that in the playoffs you have to get better and better to improve, and that's one area we've got make sure we improve on."
The Penguins also can take confidence from the strong form of Matt Murray.
The 22-year-old goalie has been stellar since returning to action as a sub in Game 4 vs. Ottawa after missing the first 2 1/2 rounds of the playoffs due to a lower-body injury he sustained in warmups before the postseason opener. He has stopped 68 of the 71 shots he has faced, including a 25-save shutout on Sunday.