|Centre Jason Spezza and the Ottawa Senators look to take a 3-0 lead against the Buffalo Sabres tonight in the Eastern Conference final.|
by Todd Anderson
With a 2-0 series lead in the Eastern Conference final, the Ottawa Senators are focusing on another win over the Buffalo Sabres tonight at Scotiabank Place. The Senators expect the Sabres will come out with their best effort of the series tonight and they plan to match it.
"They're going to be a pretty desperate club. We know that," Senators centre Jason Spezza said after this morning's optional skate. "Hopefully, we'll get a little energy from our crowd. We'll be ready to play."
Fellow Ottawa centre Mike Fisher agrees that Buffalo - the regular season's Presidents' Trophy winner with an NHL-high 113 points - won't go away easily.
"We feel confident with the group we have in here. We've played well but we still have a long way to go," Fisher says. "We're facing a good opponent in Buffalo and they're not going to roll over by any means."
The Senators have used a strong forecheck against Buffalo and have been credited with timely goals, as well as other momentum-shifting plays because of it. Forward Dany Heatley, who is tied with Spezza for the NHL scoring lead with 17 points, is impressed with how his team has played smartly during the post-season.
"Making the right plays at the right time is the main thing," Heatley says. "When we have nothing, we're getting the puck in. When we get a little break, we're taking advantage of it. It's something we've got to keep doing. We're getting a lot of things done when we get the puck in their end and forecheck. We're getting a lot of second-chance opportunities."
Heading into Game 3, Senators head coach Bryan Murray has faith that his team will stick to the game plan.
"I think it's quite encouraging that our veteran players, in particular, have been real good at focusing. In our meeting yesterday after we returned from Buffalo, there was a real good focus. I thought they took our criticism real well, because we didn't play the ideal game in Game 2. They understand the importance. I think we'll play one of our best games tonight."