|Patrick Eaves was among the 14 Ottawa Senators players participating in the pre-game skate this morning at Bell Sensplex. Photo: OSHC|
by Todd Anderson
With the defending Stanley Cup-champion Tampa Bay Lightning in town tonight, Senators head coach Bryan Murray says he doesn't expect to have any "easy" games for the rest of the season.
"They're all going to be desperate games," Murray says. "Everything is tight going into the playoffs."
Mike Fisher agrees.
"It's never too early to treat every game like the playoffs," he said after participating in an optional pre-game skate this morning. "Our goal is to finish first and come playoffs, be in top form."
Wade Redden knows it is important to gain the best possible seeding.
"We want to catch Carolina (who leads the Eastern Conference standings) but we want to make sure we win our division too."
While he admits to keeping an eye on teams like the Buffalo Sabres, who are currently two points behind first-place Ottawa in the Northeast division with 89 points, and the Carolina Hurricanes, who lead the Eastern Conference with 92 points, Bryan Smolinski said he and his teammates control their own destiny.
"We just have to worry about ourselves."
Meanwhile, Murray continues to tinker with his line combinations to find the right mix. One line that worked well against the Washington Capitals on Sunday was the Jason Spezza-Dany Heatley-Patrick Eaves combination. Spezza spoke about Eaves' impressive debut with the line.
"He kept getting abused, and he kept getting up. He wants to get under (the opponent's) skin. That's great. It creates more room for us."
Eaves isn't the only player to have picked up his play.
"Depth scoring is key for a hockey club," Spezza said. "It's good that different guys are scoring at different times for us."