Practice picks up as Round 2 opponent determined
|Senators head coach Bryan Murray likes the matchup with the Buffalo Sabres for Round 2. "With their skill and speed, they move the puck up the ice well. We like to play that way, too," he said. Photo: A. Ringuette/Freestyle Photography/OSHC|
by Todd Anderson
The intensity displayed by the Ottawa Senators at Wednesday's practice had clearly reached a new level compared to the previous couple of days. A few bodychecks were even laid out during drills. What could explain the difference in attitude? They now have a Round 2 opponent they can focus on -- the Buffalo Sabres.
"It's nice to have a face to get ready for," defenceman Wade Redden said of the Senators Round 2 matchup with the Buffalo Sabres. "We can start talking about them and what we need to do to beat them."
After rolling through Round 1 and beating the Tampa Bay Lightning in five games, the Senators have held a playoff training camp of sorts to go over details of their game. Now after some retooling, the players are excited to get back into action.
"We all just want a game, we're a little bit edgy," centreman Jason Spezza said. "This will be a good test for us. (The Sabres) have been playing real well. They forecheck hard and they're a pretty smart hockey club.
Forward Mike Fisher agrees it's been tough waiting for their Round 2 opponent to be determined.
"We're excited to get going. It's been a pretty long layoff for the playoffs."
Phillips hopeful for Game 1 return
Defenceman Chris Phillips returned to practice on Wednesday and was asked afterwards if he felt he could return to action for Game 1 against Buffalo.
"I'm hopeful. (Today's practice) went pretty good. I'm pretty happy with it. As a team we'll have our work cut out for ourselves (against Buffalo). We have to limit their chances."
Forward Chris Kelly and defenceman Brian Pothier are day-to-day due to injuries.