OTTAWA -- The Ottawa Senators are carrying a "why not us?" attitude into the Eastern Conference Second Round against the New York Rangers beginning with Game 1 at Canadian Tire Centre on Thursday (7 p.m. ET; CNBC, CBC, TVA Sports).
"I think I've had that [attitude] all year," defenseman Erik Karlsson said Tuesday. "I think everybody has had that all year. It's just been a long process of getting to where we are today. We've worked extremely hard to be standing here today. We still have a lot left to do.
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"We expected to win the first series, and we expect to win this one too."
The Senators advanced to the second round with a six-game series victory against the Boston Bruins, with Karlsson setting the tone on and off the ice. He had six assists in the series -- three were brilliant individual plays -- and could be seen barking at teammates on the bench, pushing them for more.
"You've got to push forward and it's not going to be easy and I think everybody can do it and everybody has done that, not only me," Karlsson said. "I'm taking care of my part and I'm doing what I can to be the best possibly I can, and I expect everybody to do the same. I feel like we're on our way there."
Karlsson, Ottawa's captain, played the first round with two hairline fractures in his left heel sustained when he blocked a shot against the Philadelphia Flyers on March 28. He revealed the injury after the Senators eliminated the Bruins with a 3-2 overtime win Sunday.
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It's unusual for a player to be specific about an injury.
"I was tired of talking about it and it's something that's probably is not going to affect me anymore moving forward," Karlsson said. "It's something that's done with and I just felt like getting it out of the way instead of keep having it lingering on. I'm not that much for secrets."
The Senators now turn their attention toward the Rangers, who were the first wild card into the playoffs from the East with 102 points.
"This is a team with high-end depth," coach Guy Boucher said. "The portrait of the Rangers is there are no real flaws in their game. There are no real weaknesses. It's not like, 'OK, their third line or their fourth line has got holes or they've got injuries or on defense they've got a top four, but their fifth … their goalie's average.' No, everything is really good. This is going to be an even bigger test."