2003 NHL Playoffs 2003 NHL Playoffs

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Ottawa 3, New York 1
Posted: Thursday April 17, 2003 12:35 AM
Ottawa Senators
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New York Islanders
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New York

UNIONDALE, New York (Ticker) -- It took the Ottawa Senators 83 minutes to put away the New York Islanders in Game Three. They took control a lot earlier in this one.

Mike Fisher and defenseman Anton Volchenkov scored in the opening 4:12 and the Senators never looked back in a 3-1 win over the Islanders that gave them a commanding three games to one lead in their Eastern Conference quarterfinal series Marian Hossa had the other goal and Patrick Lalime stopped 21 shots for the Senators, who will try to close out the best-of-seven series on Thursday night at the Corel Centre.

"I think we were a little better than we were Monday, and we have to be better tomorrow night to win," Senators coach Jacques Martin said. "You've got to get stronger."

The Senators controlled play for most of overtime in Game Three before emerging with a 3-2 win in the second extra period. They came out with the same passion in Game Four.

"That was the key, to score two goals right away," Hossa said. "They got the crowd behind them and it's so loud in here. So if we can score, it would be quiet in here."

Ottawa remained the aggressive team early as Fisher scored 28 seconds in and Volchenkov connected less than four minutes later against stunned goaltender Garth Snow.

Defenseman Adrian Aucoin gave the Islanders some life with a second-period goal, but the momentum ended swiftly when Oleg Kvasha deflected a pass into his own net for a goal credited to Hossa.

"It's very disappointing, a little frustrating because I honestly don't think we did our best tonight," Aucoin said. "We didn't skate like we had to. I think they were probably riding on the emotion of last game. We expected it. We definitely should have countered it."

The offensive troubles continued for New York, which has managed a mere six goals in the series, just three in the last three games.

It took just a few seconds for Ottawa to grab the lead as Fisher took a pass from former Islander Bryan Smolinski near the top of the right faceoff circle and beat Snow with a high slap shot.

"I just elected to shoot on a 2-on-1 and I got lucky," Fisher said. "I was able to beat him over the glove. I just want to get as hard a shot as I could. Luckily, it was a good shot."

"Whenever you give up a goal that early in the game, it definitely takes a little wind put of your sail," Snow admitted. "They threw everything at us and it put us right on our heels. I don't know why."

The Senators quickly made it 2-0. Vaclav Varada wristed a shot toward the net that Volchenkov got as his momentum carried him past the goal line on the right side. He spun and took a bad-angle shot that appeared to deflect off Snow and into the goal.

"In any game you get the lead, you want to keep going at them," Ottawa defenseman Chris Phillips said. "You don't want to give them extra life and a chance to get back in the game."

Ottawa further demonstrated its control moments later when enforcer Chris Neal flattened Jason Blake with a clean hit near the red line.

New York had a 42-second two-man advantage bridging the first two periods but failed to get off a shot. The Islanders were 0-for-5 on the power play and are just 2-for-26 in the series.

The Isles finally solved Lalime at 2:48 of the second. With both teams down a man, Aucoin scored on a low slap shot from just inside the blue line.

A favorable bounce helped Ottawa silence the Nassau Coliseum crowd less than six minutes later. Hossa tried to send a pass across the crease to Martin Havlat. Kvasha got his stick on the puck but accidentally deflected it into his own net for a power-play goal.

"They got a little momentum after they scored a goal, and we knew that if we could score on the power play we could hold them down," Hossa said. "And that's what we did. We did a good job on (killing) the power play. That was key."

The top-seeded Senators played a defensive-minded third period and repeatedly frustrated the Islanders, who fell to 0-13-4 at home against Ottawa since January 6, 1996.

Dave Scatchard deflected a slap shot past Lalime with seven seconds left, but the goal was waved off because he used a high stick.

It was another frustrating night for Islanders captain Michael Peca, who had two shots on goal and is without a point in the series. For Peca, a change in venue may be what is needed.

"I think there is less pressure playing on the road. I don't remember losing an elimination game on the road," said Peca, who did not play in last season's Game Seven playoff loss in Toronto due to injury. "We just have to keep getting pucks at the net. I think we're holding the puck that extra second instead of firing it at the net."