Sens' image is false: Quinn

TERRY KOSHAN -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 3:51 PM ET


 Don't let those sneaky Ottawa Senators fool you.

 That's the opinion of Maple Leafs coach Pat Quinn, who took issue with a question yesterday regarding possible spots of physical vulnerability in the Senators lineup.

 "In my mind, they have buffaloed a lot of people," Quinn said after practice at Lakeshore Lions Arena. "They give the goody-two-shoes sort of image. I think they like that sort of thing (being perceived as less than tough) because they feel it gives them an edge on calls.

 "They want the image the other teams are the bad guys all the time, yet they are as bad as there are around."

 Certainly, the Senators did not run and hide when the intensity level was touching the roof of the Air Canada Centre in Game 2 on Saturday. Rather, the Senators enjoyed the tempo.

 So no, the Leafs don't expect to roll into the nation's capital tonight in Game 3 of the best-of-seven Eastern Conference quarter-final and have their physical way with the home side.

 But it's funny what a quick history lesson will tell you.

 In their past six playoff games at the Corel Centre, situated close to the middle of nowhere, the Leafs have skated off as victors in five of them. Yet mentioning that and the Leafs' three wins in three tries in suburban Kanata during the 2003-04 season doesn't go far in the Toronto dressing room.

 It can't hurt, however, that the Leafs will get plenty of support in the building where there was zilch for the Senators at the ACC.

 BEAUTY OF IT

 "I don't think (the past) means anything at this time of year," Leafs captain Mats Sundin said. "That's the beauty of the playoffs, I guess, where everything is a wash as soon as it starts. It's the time of year where you have to be confident or you are not going to last for a long time."

 Quinn said he was not sure but thought he would go with the same lineup that was triumphant in Game 2, meaning defenceman Aki Berg (healthy) and forward Mikael Renberg (hamstring) would sit again tonight. For Ottawa, the thinking is centre Jason Spezza, a scratch for the first two games despite a strong regular season, will be in.

 Spezza likely will replace Anton Vermette.

 Quinn wasn't about to remind his players of their successes on the road versus the Senators. He never has been a guy who has looked at the scores and been satisfied. For Quinn, it's about how wins are achieved, and that's a philosophy to which he adhered yesterday.

 Of course, having 23 road wins during the season can make a coach's life easier. That number tied the Leafs with the Boston Bruins for the most triumphs away from home during 2003-04.

 "Every game I remember playing (in Ottawa), even if we did win it was hard-fought," Quinn said. "I expect the same. You have to be process-oriented and that means doing little things well and making (fewer) mistakes than the other guys."


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