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Derick Brassard of Senators thriving in playoffs

Forward leading Ottawa in scoring entering Eastern Conference Second Round against Rangers

by Chris Stevenson / NHL.com Correspondent

OTTAWA -- This is forward Derick Brassard's favorite time of the year, on and off the ice.

Brassard is leading the Ottawa Senators in scoring in the Stanley Cup Playoffs with eight points (two goals, six assists) in six games, growing his reputation as a playoff performer. On his off nights, he is consumed with watching the other postseason games as he prepares to face his former team, the New York Rangers, in the Eastern Conference Second Round.

Game 1 is at Canadian Tire Centre on Thursday (7 p.m. ET; CNBC, CBC, TVA Sports).

 

[RELATED: Complete Senators vs. Rangers series coverage]

 

Senators defenseman Marc Methot said Tuesday he's impressed by Brassard's knowledge of what's going on around the NHL.

"For me it's no surprise," Methot said. "He's so passionate about the game of hockey. He loves playing it. He can tell you every player's [stick] curve in the League, how they wear their skates, their tape jobs. He's just one of those guys that has great hockey IQ, and it's showing in his play right now."

Brassard, 29, was acquired in a trade with the Rangers for 24-year-old center Mika Zibanejad on July 18.

"I watch every game in the playoffs," he said. "I'm going to watch all the games [Wednesday]. I'm passionate about what I'm doing. I think if you're passionate about what you do in life, obviously success is going to come. If you don't like what you do, you're not going to be happy to come here every day and go on the ice and everything.

"I've always been that way since I was young. I like being on the ice. I like playing hockey and watching it. It fits perfect with what I do every day."

Video: OTT@BOS, Gm3: Brassard slams home Ryan's nice dish

Brassard led the Rangers with 44 points (18 goals, 26 assists) in 59 playoff games during the previous four seasons. He shrugged off the playoff performer label, but the numbers say something different. He's averaged 0.59 points in 644 NHL regular-season games and 0.80 points in 65 Stanley Cup Playoff games.

"I haven't won any [Stanley] Cups yet," he said, "and until I win the Cup … It feels good to hear that [but] I haven't accomplished anything yet. I'm just looking forward to playing solid and giving my team a chance to win in the second round."

He knows in the minds of many this series will be a referendum on the trade. Brassard led the Senators in scoring in the first round, and Zibanejad did the same for the Rangers with four points (one goal, three assists) in six games against the Montreal Canadiens.

"It's not about me and Mika," Brassard said. "Yes they did a trade this summer, but there's other guys on the team. It's about the other 23 guys on both rosters. There's always pressure and I think I can handle it pretty well. I always showed up on the big stage. I'm going to just try and play my game. I'm not going to put any pressure on myself. I have some good linemates and they're going to help me out."

Video: BOS@OTT, Gm2: Brassard nets Karlsson's nice pass

Senators coach Guy Boucher said he's not surprised Brassard is playing his best hockey now. He's seen it coming. Before the playoffs, Boucher said Brassard led Senators forwards in the analytics categories tracked by Ottawa.

Boucher said Brassard's production has gone up because he doesn't hesitate to shoot now.

"It's playoff time and he's at his best right now," Boucher said. "But he's been working like that, he's been playing like that, for a long time. Without the hesitation he gets that fraction of a second that gives him the result right now. We're real happy about it."

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