2007 STANLEY CUP PLAYOFF STORYLINES
(1) Buffalo Sabres vs. (4) Ottawa Senators
PLAYOFF HISTORY: The Sabres and Senators will meet in the Stanley Cup Playoffs for the second consecutive season and the fourth time overall.
Buffalo has won each of the first three series:
In 1997, the Senators' first-ever playoff series extended to overtime of Game 7. Buffalo's Derek Plante ended the exciting Conference Quarterfinal
series with a goal at 5:24.
In 1999, the Sabres swept the Senators, who had captured their first Northeast Division title, in a first-round match-up. The Sabres went on to
reach the Stanley Cup Final.
In 2006, the Sabres captured the Conference Semifinal series in five games. Three contests were decided in overtime, including the series-clincher in which RW Jason Pominville scored a shorthanded goal at 2:26. The Sabres have won five consecutive playoff overtime games against the Senators since 1997.
CONFERENCE FINALS: This marks the sixth season the Sabres have reached the Conference Final round, the Senators' second. Buffalo defeated Montreal 4-2 in 1975, lost to the New York Islanders 4-2 in 1980, lost to Washington 4-2
in 1998, defeated Toronto 4-1 in 1999 and lost to Carolina 4-3 in 2006. Ottawa dropped a 4-3 decision to New Jersey in 2003.
HOW THEY GOT HERE: Buffalo eliminated the Islanders in five games and the Rangers in six games. Ottawa eliminated Pittsburgh in five games and New Jersey in five games.
HIGHEST-SCORING TEAMS: This series is a match-up of the NHL's highest-scoring teams during the regular season. The Sabres ranked first with 308 goals, the Senators second with 288. The Sabres featured a League-leading four 30-goal scorers (Thomas Vanek, Chris Drury, Jason Pominville, Daniel Briere) and seven 20-goal scorers (Vanek, Drury, Pominville, Briere, Dainius Zubrus, Maxim Afinogenov, Derek Roy). The Senators had hockey's highest scoring line, as left wing Dany Heatley, center Jason Spezza and right wing Daniel Alfredsson all finished in among the League's top 20 scorers. Heatley ranked fourth (50-55--105), Spezza 15th (34-53--87) and Alfredsson 16th (29-58--87).
NORTHEAST RIVALS: The Sabres-Senators series in the first in the 2007 Stanley Cup Playoffs involving clubs from the same division. The Senators (5-2-1) won the eight-game season series, outscoring the Sabres 33-25.
CLUB CONNECTIONS: Senators GM John Muckler spent six years with the Sabres. He served as head coach from 1991-92 through 1994-95 and was GM from
1993-94 through 1996-97.
HEATLEY DELIVERS: Senators LW Dany Heatley tallied 18 points (eight goals, 10 assists) gainst the Sabres in eight regular-season games. Only Colorado Avalanche C Joe Sakic, who notched 20 points against the Calgary Flames, scored more against one club this season.
CAPTAIN'S LOG: Senators captain Daniel Alfredsson is the only player to have appeared in each of Ottawa's 89 Stanley Cup Playoff games since 1997.
Alfredsson and D Wade Redden have played in each of the Senators' 16 games against the Sabres.
EMERY vs. BUFFALO: Senators G Ray Emery has posted a career 9-2-0 record in 13 regular-season appearances against the Sabres, including a 5-1 mark in 2006-07. Emery was born in Hamilton, Ontario, 70 miles northwest of Buffalo and played junior B hockey in Welland, Ont., just 25 miles across the border.
STANLEY CUP HISTORY: The Senators are seeking their first berth in the Stanley Cup Final since joining the NHL in 1992-93. Ottawa has a rich Stanley Cup tradition; home to Lord Stanley of Preston, Governor-General of Canada, who commissioned the trophy in 1892, the city has celebrated Cup wins by the Ottawa Silver Seven (1903-1906) and Senators (1909-11, 1920, 1921, 1923, 1927). It has been 80 years since the city hosted a Stanley Cup Final game.
HEAD COACHES: Lindy Ruff has led the Sabres to the Conference Finals for the fourth time in his nine seasons as head coach. Hired in 1997, Ruff is
the League's longest-tenured head coach. The Senators' Bryan Murray, one of just five coaches in NHL history with as many as 600 regular-season
victories, will be making his first appearance in the Conference Finals.
SECOND HEAVEN: Goal differential statistics show both the Sabres and Senators dominating the second period, both in the regular season and
playoffs. The Sabres outscored their opponents 116-75 in the middle frame during the regular season and have continued that success in the playoffs with 14-7 advantage. The Senators ranked second to Buffalo with 102 second-period goals in the regular season and enjoy a 14-5 advantage in the postseason.
FIRST GOAL: The Sabres and Senators are acombined 10-0 in the 2007 Stanley Cup Playoffs when scoring the first goal of the game. The Sabres have scored first four times in their 11 games, while the Senators have tallied first six times in 10 contests.
LOCAL HERO: Sabres D Brian Campbell had a four-year career in major junior hockey with the Ontario Hockey League's Ottawa 67's.
MR. CLUTCH: Fourteen of Sabres co-captain Chris Drury's 42 career playoff goals -- or one third -- have been game-winners, including two of seven
this year. He has tallied a game-winning goal in each of his six Stanley Cup Playoff years. Drury's clubs have never been eliminated from the
Stanley Cup Playoffs in the first two rounds (now 12 for 12).
SENATORS’ BIG HITTER: Ottawa RW Chris Neil led the NHL in regular-season hits with 288.
WALL-CHENKOV: Senators D Anton Volchenkov led all NHL players in blocked shots with 273 during the regular season.
MAJOR CONNECTION: Sabres goaltending coach Jim Corsi once held that position (1994-97) with St. Michael’s Majors, the 100-year-old Toronto-area
academy that has been a stalwart producer of NHL talent. In addition to being sole owner of the Senators, Eugene Melnyk also is sole owner of the
CHRIS-TAL CLEAR: Of the four Conference Finalists, Buffalo’s Chris Drury leads in career playoff goals with 42.