Buffalo Sabres co-captain Chris Drury is the most experienced player when it comes to post-season action on Buffalo's roster. With 86 games and a Stanley Cup to his credit, Drury leads a very young lineup that will be looking to procure as much knowledge as possible from the veteran center.
Drury shared his thoughts on Buffalo's series with Ottawa, which opens in the Scotiabank Place at 7:00 PM this Friday.
How difficult is this match-up for Buffalo? Chris Drury: "They are going to be a tough challenge for us. They have a very deep team with a great defense. (Ray) Emery has been playing really well. We've got our work cut out for us."
How do you attack a team that is basically a mirror image of yourselves? Drury: "We have to just focus on what made us successful all season. We need to keep moving our feet, get the puck down low and try to limit our turnovers as much as possible. That has seemed to be the key for us during the regular season and against Philadelphia."
Against the Flyers, your line tried to match-up against their top line of Peter Forsberg, Simon Gagne and Mike Knuble. Does Ottawa's depth limit take away the need for that type of match-up with a specific line? Drury: "Yes, it does. They are so deep on their scoring lines that guys on their fourth line - if you can call it a fourth line - have 20 goals. We are going to have to be sharp defensively on every shift."
How do you control or contain Martin Havlat's speed? Drury: "Just like with Forsberg, you just have to know where guys like that are all the time. The Senators have a lot of those types of guys. They are always looking in the neutral zone or just inside their blueline to pounce on turnovers and then they're gone. I think we have to know where they are at all times and not turn the puck over."
How dangerous is Ottawa with Havlat playing so well? Drury: "He gives them a lot more depth, speed and scoring. He has a ton of goals already in the playoffs. Again, we just have to know where he is and try to limit his chances."
What did this team learn out of winning a first-round series? Drury: "It was good experience for everybody, especially winning the last one on the road and taking the first two at home. Philadelphia was a veteran team with a lot of playoff experience and we stood up to the challenge. It's good to have that one under our belt."
Did this young team mature as the series with Philadelphia progressed? Drury: "Yes. In Game Three we had a couple of tough bounces and we just turned the puck over too much in Game Four. The whole experience - of playoff hockey - is great to have it behind us."
Did you like having a couple of days between the two series or would you have preferred to get started immediately with Ottawa? Drury: "It's good to get back at it. With too much time between games, we might have gotten stale. It's nice to be playing again."