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Focus on hard work expected against Rangers

by Staff Writer / Ottawa Senators
While admitting he's frustrated with the slow progress during rehab of his adductor muscle injury, goaltender Dominik Hasek told the media on Monday he hopes to be back in time for the playoffs. Photo: A. Ringuette/Freestyle Photography/OSHC

by Todd Anderson

The Ottawa Senators have plenty to accomplish tomorrow when they face the New York Rangers for their final game of the 2005-06 regular season campaign. A tie for the franchise record of 113 points in a season is possible with a victory. With the playoffs beginning later this week, however, the focus will be on much more important issues.

"I want them to work hard and handle the puck better than they have," coach Bryan Murray said of his expectations tomorrow night. "There has to be a real focus on our part. The players have to have the feeling when they leave that building that they played well."

Goaltender Dominik Hasek (adductor muscle strain) and Chris Phillips (knee sprain) will not be available for the Senators tomorrow. After practice today, both players said they hope to return when the playoffs begin later this week.

"I always dream the next day I will wake up and feel better," Hasek said. "(Right now) I'm not able to do what I want. I have to feel better than today."

Said Phillips when asked if he could be back for Game 1 of the playoffs, "That's what I'm shooting for. I'm not 100 per cent yet but I pushed it hard today and we'll see how it reacts tomorrow."

Rookie goaltender Ray Emery, who has earned the confidence from his teammates, is expected to fill in admirably again in the playoffs if Hasek cannot play.

"We've been happy with the way Ray has been playing," centre Jason Spezza said. "We can win with him in the net."

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