By Scott Erskine PA SportsTicker Hockey Editor
ANAHEIM, California (Ticker) - Samuel Pahlsson received a form of praise for his regular-season play from the NHL by being named a finalist for this year's Selke Trophy. He has received praise for his performance in the postseason by having his name thrown around as a candidate for the Conn Smythe Trophy.
But perhaps the highest praise he's received in 2006-07 came after Game Two from teammate Chris Pronger, a seasoned veteran who won both the Hart and Norris Trophies in 2000 and is nominated for the top defenseman award again this campaign.
Pahlsson - who scored the winning goal in Game Six of the Western Conference finals against Detroit to clinch a spot in the Stanley Cup Finals for the Ducks - has been superb vs. the Senators, throwing his body around to create opportunities, playing a smothering style against Ottawa's top line and netting Game Two's lone tally to give Anaheim a 2-0 series lead.
After coming through in the clutch, Pahlsson was given quite a compliment by Pronger.
"I think that of all the players that I've played with, that Sammy is the best player defensively," Pronger said. "He plays a sound checking game, plays physical and is a good faceoff guy. He flies under the radar. We knew about him all year long. He hasn't gotten the credit."
He's gotten nothing but credit so far in the Stanley Cup Finals.
NOT ROCKET SCIENCE: Score more goals than your opponent and you win the game. It's that simple.
But the Ottawa Senators have been unable to get the job done thus far in the Stanley Cup Finals and face what amounts to a must-win situation at home in Game Three on Saturday. They have yet to find the solution to their goal-scoring problems, netting just two in the first two games of the series.
But defenseman Wade Redden believes he knows how Ottawa can turn things around.
"I think you have to break it down just to winning those 1-on-1 battles," Redden said. "It's as simple as the game. Focus on that, be better around the puck. When we do get it, we have to keep it and not give it back to them, not give them second and third chances to re-attack us.
"That's what tires us out. Then at the end of the game, there's nothing in the tank to mount a comeback. We have to be a lot better right from the start of the game."
Everything came fairly easy for the Senators in the first three rounds of the playoffs, as they won each series in five games. But goaltender Ray Emery, who has posted a shutout against each of the first three teams he's faced, welcomes the challenge his club now faces.
"You can't win anything without going through some adversity, and it's the first we've really had in the playoffs," Emery said. "We don't deserve it if we can't overcome this." Dany Heatley, who along with linemate Jason Spezza leads the league in playoff scoring with 21 points, agrees.
"We've been through adversity and we have some now, and we'll see how we respond," he said.
ROCKIN' IN THE RED ZONE: Scotiabank Place undoubtedly will be loud for Games Three and Four. But it also will be ear-piercing prior to the Ottawa Senators' first two home games of the Stanley Cup Finals.
Before Game Three on Saturday, Canadian rock band The Trews will perform at the Red Zone inside the arena. Two days later, Trooper - dubbed one of the most accomplished bands in Canadian history - gets its chance to get the Ottawa faithful pumped up.
For the Senators' sake, fans are advised to save their voices for cheering on the team and let the bands make the noise prior to the games.