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Ottawa Senators Official Website FRANÇAIS Official Site of the Ottawa Senators

Sens aim for playoff clincher

Thursday, 27.03.2008 / 1:09 PM / Features
By Rob Brodie  -
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Sens aim for playoff clincher
With a little bit of help, the Ottawa Senators can check one very important item off their list of biggest season goals tonight.

The Senators hit the ice against the Buffalo Sabres at Scotiabank Place (7:30 p.m., A-Channel, Team 1200) knowing that a victory will have them on the verge of clinching a playoff berth for the 11th straight season. And that result, combined with a Washington Capitals loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning this evening, would officially put the stamp on the Senators’ ticket to the 2008 post-season party.

“We just want to make it,” said Senators head coach/general manager Bryan Murray. “That’s all I’m really concerned about… getting in, being ready and when we get there, whoever we have to play, we’ll play.”

Added centre Jason Spezza: “You want to win (tonight). You want to try to clinch a playoff spot as early as possible, I think. It’s nice to have the security of knowing you’re in the playoffs. But it’s more important for us to play right, do the right things and we’ll be in the playoffs. We just have to make sure we go in on the right note.”

They’ll attempt to get the job done without veteran defenceman Wade Redden (bruised knee), who told reporters after Thursday morning’s optional pre-game skate that he isn’t quite ready yet for game action.

“There’s not really any sense (in trying it),” he said. “It’s still pretty sore.

“It felt better than (Wednesday) but not where I felt it was good enough to play. Hopefully, the trend continues and Saturday (in Boston against the Bruins), it’ll be good to go.”

Murray wants his blueliner pretty much at full strength before he returns.

“I don’t want him to play if he’s hurting, bottom line,” he said. “If he’s able to go and be close to 100 per cent, then he can help the hockey team.”

Meanwhile, rookie Brian Lee, who impressed everyone in his National Hockey League debut – Tuesday’s 6-3 win over the Sabres in Buffalo – figures to be a fixture in the Senators lineup for the rest of the season.

“Brian Lee is playing the rest of the games unless something happens,” said Murray. “Brian Lee is an NHL player from now on.”

That endorsement obviously sat well with Lee, who’ll have parents Richard and Carol coming in from Moorhead, Minn., to watch his first home game as a Senator.

“It’s a special feeling, I guess,” said the 21-year-old Lee. “I’m just going to come out and take it one day at a time. I’ll work hard tonight and keep things simple and try to help our team get another win.”

Around the boards

Martin Gerber (29-15-3), who makes his 13th straight start tonight, is aiming for his 100th career victory … Murray said college free-agent signee Jesse Winchester won’t play tonight, but could dress Saturday against the Bruins. “He’s been off three days (since his season at Colgate University ended). He still has a little soreness,” said Murray. “I just think it’s only fair to give the guy a couple of days with us, at least.” … Fewer than 250 tickets remain for tonight’s game.




1 MTL 61 40 16 5 167 135 85
2 TBL 62 37 19 6 203 167 80
3 DET 59 33 15 11 173 154 77
4 BOS 60 29 22 9 158 158 67
5 FLA 61 26 22 13 145 172 65
6 OTT 58 25 23 10 166 161 60
7 TOR 61 25 31 5 170 185 55
8 BUF 62 19 38 5 120 207 43


E. Karlsson 58 14 31 2 45
B. Ryan 54 15 29 7 44
K. Turris 58 15 26 -5 41
M. Stone 56 14 23 9 37
M. Hoffman 55 20 15 21 35
M. Zibanejad 56 15 16 0 31
C. MacArthur 53 13 13 -10 26
M. Michalek 53 11 14 -2 25
D. Legwand 56 8 14 -2 22
A. Chiasson 52 9 12 -7 21
C. Anderson 13 11 7 .927 2.37
R. Lehner 9 12 3 .905 3.02