It's time for Sens stars to step up

BRUCE GARRIOCH -- Ottawa Sun

, Last Updated: 8:55 AM ET

TAMPA -- To beat the best, you need your best.

That was the message GM John Muckler and coach Bryan Murray delivered to the Senators yesterday as their playoff series shifted to Tampa for Game 3 tonight and Game 4 Thursday.

"If you are going to be successful in the playoffs, your best players have got to be your best players," said Muckler. "You don't stand a chance of winning a series without them. Look at who led Tampa (Sunday). It was their top players like (Martin) St. Louis, (Vinny) Lecavalier and (Dan) Boyle."

Muckler and Murray didn't need to name names. Captain Daniel Alfredsson had no shots in Game 2, while Jason Spezza, Dany Heatley and Zdeno Chara also have to be better.

"All the good teams that capture the Stanley Cup make sure that they work hard," said Muckler. "They never get too high after a win or too low after a loss. They also remember that they have to work hard for anything they get."

SHOT AT TORTORELLA

Muckler couldn't resist the opportunity to take a dig at Bolts' coach John Tortorella, who had said all the pressure was on the Senators.

"Tortorella came into Ottawa, made all kinds of statements about the pressure being on us and the media blew it out of proportion. He played the media like a fiddle and everybody bit," said Muckler.

"I know what he was trying to do because when I was coaching in this league, I did the same thing. Now that we're going to Tampa, the pressure is going to be on Tortorella's team because they're the home team now. I guess the pressure in this series has all switched. Sometimes the road team is more comfortable. If we win one of the two games down there, it comes a best two out of three series and they won't have the home-ice advantage."


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