|Former Ottawa 67's star Brian Campbell bats at the puck during the Buffalo Sabres' pre-game skate this morning. The Senators host the Sabres in Game 1 of their Round 2 series tonight. Photo: T. Anderson/OSHC|
by Todd Anderson
The Ottawa Senators took a lot more than 12 points out of their 5-1-2 season series win over the Buffalo Sabres during the regular season. After facing the Northeast Division opponent eight times, the teams got to know each other quite well.
The second-round Stanley Cup playoff series between the two clubs kicks off tonight at Scotiabank Place.
"Things that you draw from those (regular-season) games are tendencies and things you can exploit," says Sens captain Daniel Alfredsson. "We know (Buffalo) is a good team, and I think they respect us, too. The neutral-zone play is going to be a big thing and staying out of the (penalty) box is very big. They've got a great power play. A lot of their games, I think they won on special teams."
Coming off a six-day layoff after eliminating the Tampa Bay Lightning in five games during Round 1, the Sens are keyed up for tonight's game.
"(The Sabres) are pretty solid the whole way through," alternate captain Wade Redden says. "We're a fresh team, so we want to get out to a good start."
Defenceman Zdeno Chara, the Senators' other alternate captain, has been matched up against the opposition's top players throughout the season. In this series, he's not sure any one opponent stands out.
"This is a team game, not a game of individuals. (The Sabres) have a lot of depth. It's different than the first round where we could focus on certain guys. No matter who's on the ice, we have to watch out."
If there was one player that may be focused on, it could be Gatineau native Daniel BriÃ¨re. He had 58 points in 48 games for Buffalo during the regular season.
"BriÃ¨re is obviously a very competitive person," says Senators head coach Bryan Murray of BriÃ¨re, who stands at five-foot-ten and 178 pounds. "He's a battler - size does not seem to be a factor with him. There's a whole support cast there to help him as well."