|The Ottawa Senators held an intense practice today at Scotiabank Place in preparation of their first-round playoff series with the Tampa Bay Lightning that begins Friday. Photo: OSHC|
by Todd Anderson
Bryan Murray is heading into his first Stanley Cup playoffs with the Ottawa Senators and he has a clear message for his team as they prepare for a matchup with the defending Stanley Cup-champion Tampa Bay Lightning: forget the past.
"We have to be aware that this is a new beginning. This team has really shown they can bare down and focus. We're going to have a little fun with this. We're going to compete well in this playoff, and we're going to allow our good players to be good players. The past is like a blackboard to me, you just erase it."
With that said, the players aren't putting too much stock in the 4-0 season-series sweep they rolled on the Bolts this season.
"Playoffs are a different ball game," says Dany Heatley. "Those guys (Tampa Bay) obviously know what it takes to win. Everyone has to play well and chip in. You don't see teams win Cups with one line. Games are tighter, and you see a lot more simpler goals."
Ray Emery is projected to start in goal for Ottawa on Friday. The rookie is ready for the challenge.
"I'm excited to have a chance to get this experience and contribute. I don't want to try to do too much, just make key saves."
The make-up of the team is something Wade Redden appreciates heading into the post-season.
"We have a lot of different faces. We've got some young guys who have come up and provided us with energy. We're ready for sure."
Captain Daniel Alfredsson knows what to expect from the Lightning. His team actually plays a similar style.
"They forecheck hard so you have to make sure you come back to your own end, and break out cleanly if you can. You have to play very smart in the neutral zone. With their forwards and their speed, they're very good at counter-attacking. We want to put pressure on them and force turnovers. Hopefully, that will lead to scoring chances."
The following is the series schedule with television broadcasts:
Friday, April 21, at Ottawa (7 p.m.), CBC
Sunday, April 23, at Ottawa (6 p.m.), CBC, OLN
Tuesday, April 25, at Tampa Bay (7 p.m.), OLN, CBC
Thursday, April 27, at Tampa Bay (7 p.m.), OLN, CBC
Saturday, April 29, at Ottawa (7 p.m.), CBC, OLN
Monday, May 1, at Tampa Bay (7 p.m.), OLN, CBC
Wednesday, May 3, at Ottawa (7 p.m.), CBC