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Senators look to make history tonight

Wednesday, 16.05.2007 / 12:00 AM / News
Ottawa Senators
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Senators look to make history tonight
Senators forward Oleg Saprykin and his teammates look to make history tonight. With a win over the Buffalo Sabres, Ottawa will claim its first playoff sweep and a berth in the 2007 Stanley Cup final. Photo: A. Ringuette/Freestyle Photography/OSHC

by Todd Anderson

History could be made tonight when the Ottawa Senators host the Buffalo Sabres for the fourth game of the Eastern Conference final. Leading the series 3-0, Ottawa will attempt to sweep a playoff series for the first time and reach the 2007 Stanley Cup final.

Senators alternate captain Chris Phillips was asked what a playoff sweep against the Presidents' Trophy-winning Sabres would mean to the team.

"It means we're going on to the final. It's not a sweep that we're really looking at. It's four wins. We're going to try our best to get that in Game 4."

The Senators will stick with the game plan tonight and continue to do the things that have made them successful thus far in the post-season. While the excitement of what lies ahead can be felt across the city, the players are focused with the task at hand.

"We just have to come in the game strong. Obviously, they're not just going to give it to us," forward Oleg Saprykin says. "We just have to work hard. Every game is going to be like this. Those guys know it's a 3-0 series and it's going to be most important to come out in the first 10 minutes strong and focused."

The Senators haven't let up throughout the entire playoffs and they don't intend to now. Remarkably, the club has a chance to claim a spot in the Stanley Cup final in just 14 games through the first three rounds.

"There's no letdown, and I think the composure we've shown has been real key for us," alternate captain Wade Redden says. "We got down 2-0 in Game 2 (against Buffalo) and guys just stuck with it and kept battling and it worked out well for us. The composure level has been key."

Senators forward Dany Heatley is tied with linemate Jason Spezza for first place in NHL scoring with 18 points. Heatley expects a mighty effort from the Sabres tonight.

"We feel good but at the same time a fourth game and closing out the series is always the toughest game. They're going to bring it all (tonight). They have to. We've got to be focused and ready to play our best game.

"I think that's one of the reasons why we've come this far. We've taken it one game at a time and whether we've won or lost, we've been able to forget about it and re-focus and re-energize for the next game."

Senators captain Daniel Alfredsson says the team will feed off the energy from the home crowd tonight.

"I think they've brought their A game this year as well. They have been a big reason why we have a good home record this year. They've definitely shown their support. This has been a great hockey community since I've been here."




1 MTL 64 41 18 5 172 142 87
2 TBL 65 39 20 6 213 171 84
3 DET 62 36 15 11 182 160 83
4 BOS 62 31 22 9 165 161 71
5 FLA 64 28 23 13 156 181 69
6 OTT 62 28 23 11 176 167 67
7 TOR 64 26 33 5 173 195 57
8 BUF 64 19 40 5 123 215 43


E. Karlsson 62 15 34 1 49
B. Ryan 58 17 31 9 48
K. Turris 62 16 29 -3 45
M. Hoffman 59 23 17 24 40
M. Stone 60 15 25 12 40
M. Zibanejad 60 16 19 3 35
C. MacArthur 53 13 13 -10 26
M. Michalek 57 11 15 -1 26
D. Legwand 60 8 14 -4 22
A. Chiasson 56 9 12 -8 21
C. Anderson 13 11 7 .927 2.37
R. Lehner 9 12 3 .905 3.02