Senators look to secure home ice in Round 1
|Senators forward Patrick Eaves, above, remains a game-time decision for tonight.|
by Todd Anderson
The Ottawa Senators will be playing for home-ice advantage tonight when they host the Pittsburgh Penguins at Scotiabank Place. With a win, the Senators will secure fourth place in the Eastern Conference and a first-round series against the Penguins.
After this morning's skate, Senators head coach Bryan Murray spoke about what home-ice advantage means to him.
"I've said all along that if there's a Game 7, you would like to have it in your own building. Beyond that, I don't know that it's a big deal. I hope we play hard (tonight), I hope we play well. This is probably a set-up game for both of us."
Murray added that he wouldn't change any philosophies or try to hide any of the club's game plan from the Penguins tonight.
"There's not too many secrets in this business," Murray said. "After 82 games, you can watch the tape to see what tendencies are."
Ray Emery starts in goal tonight for the Senators and he's focused on making sure the Senators start the playoffs at Scotiabank Place.
"We want to set the tone for a series (with Pittsburgh) but, more importantly, we want to play at home. That's where our minds are at right now."
Centre Jason Spezza says the team gets pumped when it skates in front of its home crowd during the playoffs.
"(The fans) get pretty loud. The intensity, the crowd gets excited, there's a buzz around the city. It's why you play. It's what we wait for all year."
Forward Patrick Eaves, who has a groin-area injury, remains a game-time decision for the Senators. He participated in the full skate today.
Senators captain Daniel Alfredsson leads Ottawa with five points (1-4), against Pittsburgh this season. He'll look to add to his assist totals tonight and help linemate Dany Heatley reach 50 goals for the second consecutive season. Heatley is currently at 48.