|With the elimination of first-place Detroit last night, Martin Havlat and the Senators hope to capitalize on their extended home-ice advantage, which will now run through to the Stanley Cup final. Photo: A. Ringuette/Freestyle Photography/OSHC|
by Todd Anderson
On Monday night, the Presidents' Trophy-winning Detroit Red Wings were eliminated from the Stanley Cup playoffs by the Western Conference eighth-seeded Edmonton Oilers. That means the Ottawa Senators, who as Eastern Conference champions during the regular season earned home-ice advantage through the first three rounds of the playoffs, will also have the advantage if they reach the Stanley Cup final.
Head coach Bryan Murray says upsets prove you never know what to expect once the playoffs arrive.
"It's unbelievable how it happens. You work all year and get in a position, then in one game you lose it. Every round is challenging, but the first round is very scary."
Asked about the advantage of playing at Scotiabank Place, goaltender Ray Emery says he enjoys the support but the main priority for the players should be hard work, not entertaining fans with highlight-reel plays.
"It's great to be playing at home now more often than not, but we can't take it for granted. In the playoffs, it's less about skill and more on dedication and hard work towards the team game."
Forward Dany Heatley, who is coming off his first career playoff series, learned quickly how a solid work ethic is required every night during the playoffs.
"The first round, the second round, any round, it's going to be tough. Every game is so important. You have to adjust to what the other team is doing, and you have to focus on yourselves. You have to be prepared for anything."