It's hard to kick a Bud habit

CHRIS STEVENSON -- Ottawa Sun

, Last Updated: 8:42 AM ET

A friend of mine, a Senators fan, insists that a Stanley Cup victory by his team would not be validated without a trip through Toronto to hoist the silver bowl.

Indeed, there might be a lot of Senators fans out there who would declare a playoff run short of a Stanley Cup a success if it included a playoff victory over the hated Buds.

That is the way it is here in Ottawa where, given history, the Senators worthiness is almost always evaluated through a Toronto looking glass.

The Senators have had their chances over the years, for sure. They have led the Leafs 3-2 in a series and lost in seven games.

They have come back from being down 3-2 to lose in seven games.

They have been swept.

Can this be the year the Senators beat the Leafs in the playoffs? How can the Senators do it?

Well, first the Senators will need the Leafs to make the playoffs, which is no guarantee.

(Not having the Leafs make the playoffs would be a bitter sweet turn of events for Senators fans. While many of them would probably take glee in that sort of Toronto humiliation, it would remove the opportunity for the Senators to send them home).

If they do hook up in the post-season, the Senators just need their 41-year-old goalie to play better than Leafs' 40-year-old goalie, to start with.

Those are the ages Ottawa's Dominik Hasek and Toronto's Ed Belfour will be when the playoffs roll around next year.

There are a lot of games to be played before then and a lot of time to contemplate how the Senators can beat the Leafs.


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