|Ray Emery keeps his eye on the puck all the way into his glove during the pre-game skate this morning at Scotiabank Place. Emery and the Senators begin the playoffs against the Tampa Bay Lightning tonight. Photo: OSHC|
by Todd Anderson
The Ottawa Senators begin their first-round playoff series with the defending Stanley Cup-champion Tampa Bay Lightning tonight - it's the beginning of what the Senators have been playing for all season.
"All year our focus has been towards the Cup," said Sens centre Jason Spezza. "When (Tampa Bay) won it a couple of years ago, everyone was jealous of them. We want to make teams jealous of us."
Captain Daniel Alfredsson has addressed questions all season about his team's chances for winning this season.
"The pressure is on us, no question," he said. "We have to play our best hockey of the year."
Defenceman Chris Phillips returns from the injured list tonight to join defensive partner Zdeno Chara. Like they have all season, the duo will be asked to stop the opposition's top threats - in this case Vincent Lecavalier, Brad Richards and Martin St. Louis.
"They have a lot of dangerous guys that you have to be aware of when they're on the ice," Phillips said. "They're a real quick team, they like the long plays and they play a quick transition game."
Making his playoff debut tonight, goaltender Ray Emery expects to see all of his teammates contribute when the puck drops.
"It's not on one player's shoulders. We've got a great team here. It's going to be a team effort."
Coach Bryan Murray wants this to be a memorable experience for his players.
"I told them to be nervous, to be excited, and to have fun and enjoy it. I'm really happy about what has happened here, we just hope to continue it. We'll do everything to make it that way."