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Novak appreciates NHL opportunity

by Staff Writer / Ottawa Senators
Recalled from the American Hockey League affiliate Binghamton Senators yesterday, defenceman Filip Novak will make his Scotiabank Place debut tonight. Photo: OSHC

by Todd Anderson

Defenceman Filip Novak expects to be a bit nervous tonight as he heads into his third NHL game - his first in Ottawa.

The Ceske Budejovice, Czech Republic, native says those nerves won't last long, however. Once he gets on the ice, he can rely on his skills to calm him.

"(The Senators) asked me to keep playing the same way (that he was with Binghamton). They said keep passing the puck and don't be afraid to skate with it. It's great to see my play hasn't gone unnoticed in Binghamton."

Novak ranks fifth among defencemen in AHL scoring with 52 points.

Coach Bryan Murray says he's impressed with Novak's adjustment to the league.

"He's a clever player. He moves the puck well and he's a good skater. He's played well in the two games."

Novak made his NHL debut last Friday against Buffalo and also played Saturday in Philadelphia.

Currently staying at a hotel near Scotiabank Place, Novak says he hasn't been able to tour the city yet, but he was impressed with his previous experience here.

"I came here for the rookie camp with Florida (Panthers) a few years ago. I think it is one of the nicest cities in Canada."

The 24-year-old has also been appreciative with the way the players have welcomed him.

"They're awesome. When I met them in Buffalo I was taken out to dinner right away. They know it's my first time (playing in the NHL) and I'm a little excited."

Murray won't take Devils lightly

Although the New Jersey Devils might find themselves a little lower in the standings (seventh in the Eastern Conference) than in recent years, Murray isn't about to take them lightly.

"They're one of those teams that are really scary. Every time you play them, you have to pay attention to detail. They have a system and they play it well. They're a very disciplined group. With their experience and goaltending -- that definitely makes them a factor when they get into the playoffs."

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