|Senators head coach Bryan Murray, left, addresses his power-play units at practice today.|
by Todd Anderson
While all 28 games that remain on the schedule are important, this week offers the Senators a big challenge as they visit the Buffalo Sabres on Wednesday, and then play the Montreal Canadiens in a home-and-home series on Thursday at Scotiabank Place and Saturday in Montreal. With 63 points, the Senators will look to gain ground on Buffalo, who has 74 points, and Montreal, who sits at 64, in the Northeast Division standings.
Before practice today, Senators head coach Bryan Murray took a few moments to talk with his players about the importance of the week ahead.
"We have three big games and we have to get back to the work ethic that we had before the all-star break," Murray said. "It's going to be a real race down the stretch here. With 28 games to go, every game is going to be important. We've got people in our division that are really working hard to get there as well.
"Reading an article in Buffalo, they're trying to get back to their game they had going earlier on. Montreal won a big game yesterday and they're motivated to get their game back in order, as well. I don't think there will be one easy game down the stretch."
Senators centre Jason Spezza also expects a heated battle towards the playoffs.
"Every game is going to be rough because we're fighting for our lives in the division. So is everyone else."
Added Murray: "At this time of year, and in the playoffs, it's always about playing your position and working hard. Hopefully, the players who are capable of scoring, score once in a while and give you a chance to win the game."
Eaves leaves practice early
Senators forward Patrick Eaves, who is suffering with a sore ankle, left practice early today but he's expected to be in the lineup on Wednesday.
"He's fine. He was just a little tender," Murray said. "When I saw him kind of favouring it out there, I just kicked him off the ice."