|After celebrating the birth of his third child early this morning, Senators defenceman Chris Phillips was back on the ice with his teammates a few hours later preparing to face the Anaheim Ducks in the Stanley Cup final.|
by Todd Anderson
The Ottawa Senators will meet the Anaheim Ducks in the 2007 Stanley Cup final. The Ducks wrapped up the Western Conference final last night with a 4-3 victory over the Detroit Red Wings to take the series 4-2. The Cup final begins on Monday in Anaheim.
Senators head coach Bryan Murray, the former general manager in Anaheim, spoke about what he expects from the Ducks.
"Anaheim is tough and big. They have two real good offensive lines. (Teemu) Selanne is one of the top scorers in the league over his career and Andy McDonald is real quick and smart. Then they have the huge line of (Ryan) Getzlaf, (Corey) Perry and (Dustin) Penner that, going up and down the ice, are pretty hard to play with. Sammy Pahlsson on the checking line is an outstanding player. Robbie Niedermayer is a big guy and they have the two big guns (Chris Pronger and Scott Niedermayer) on the blueline."
Another big reason for the Ducks' post-season success has been the play of goaltender Jean-SÃ©bastien Giguere. Senators centre Jason Spezza has been able to watch Giguere and the Ducks play during off days.
"He's a big guy, he's a blocker," Spezza says. "If you can get screens on him and make it hard for him to see the puck, that's the best bet. He's playing pretty well and they have a capable backup, too. We have to try to keep getting pucks at him. We've done a pretty good job at screening and tips and right from Day 1 we talked about how important that was to scoring goals."
The Senators and Ducks have met 18 times since Anaheim joined the league in 1993-94. Ottawa holds a 7-6-3-2 record in matches between the clubs over that time. The teams last met on Jan. 19, 2006, when Duck Chris Kunitz, who is currently injured, scored the game-winning goal via a shootout in a 4-3 victory for Anaheim. Senators goaltender Ray Emery was asked who he thinks would benefit by not knowing much about each other, himself, or the Ducks shooters.
"I don't think anyone has the advantage," Emery says. "I'm going to do my best by brushing up on them and learning their tendencies by watching tape. I'm sure they're getting a scouting report on me right now, too."
While some of the Senators watched the Ducks eliminate the Red Wings last night, defenceman Chris Phillips celebrated the birth of his daughter, Niomi Ireland, with his wife Erin. The third child in the Phillips' family - including ZÃ¶e and Benjamin - weighed 6 lbs., 9 oz., and was born at 2:11 a.m. today.
"It was an exciting night. Everybody's great," Phillips said after today's practice. "It's easier to be focused now that we've had her. I don't have to think about what if when I'm on the other side of the continent. When we found out this summer we said the best timing would probably be between Rounds 3 and 4. It turned out to be."