Sens officially Canada's team

BRUCE GARRIOCH

, Last Updated: 7:16 AM ET

And then there was one ...

The Senators awoke yesterday as the only Canadian team left in the Stanley Cup playoffs.

That honour was bestowed upon the Senators when the Vancouver Canucks made their exit from the post-season in 2-1 loss in double overtime to the Ducks on Thursday night.

And the Senators hope the country will rally behind them following Vancouver's elimination by Anaheim in five games.

"It was still fun while they were in it. I think the West Coast was cheering for them and the East Coast was cheering for us," said Senators winger Dany Heatley. "Now, being the only Canadian team, we've got everybody behind us, hopefully. I remember when Calgary made their run (in 2004), it was cool to see the support from the country."

But unlike the '04 Flames and the Oilers last year, the Senators don't just want to reach the Stanley Cup final, they want to be the first Canadian since the 1993 Montreal Canadiens to win the Cup.

Ottawa coach Bryan Murray, who has never been past the second round in his coaching career, said being the last Canadian team standing shouldn't add any extra pressure for the Senators.

"It's hard for the other Canadian teams ... they're not in it," said Murray. "The reason we're in the business is because we like people to focus on us, we like the attention and we like to be a winner. I don't know if it's just because we're Canada's team, but we'd certainly like to go a long ways in the playoffs. If we happen to be representing the country, that's a nice thing."

NOT INSULTED: Senators G Ray Emery isn't upset at comments made by New Jersey G Martin Brodeur following Game 4 on Wednesday, when Brodeur indicated that if the Devils "shoot pucks at Emery, he doesn't look too good." Emery said he didn't hear the comments, but reminded reporters they have to consider the situation and frustration Brodeur was feeling after the 3-2 loss to the Senators. "I've felt pretty good in there and we've won the last two games," said Emery. "I'm not really that worried what (Brodeur) thinks. I know how I feel. He might be just trying to deflect (the Devils') situation or just trying to get the media to talk about something other than us having the chance to eliminate them (tonight)." Brodeur backed off on his comments in a conference call on Thursday. "It's not something to diminish the way he played," said Brodeur. "For us, I think we saw something in their defence and we started putting pucks at him ... I think the word 'exposed' is more directed at their (team)."

OFF THE GLASS: Senators C Dean McAmmond didn't practise yesterday. He took part in the club's pre-practice meeting, but had a sore throat and was sent home by Murray. "He was hanging around ready to go. I just told him to get feeling better," said Murray. There is a chance McAmmond may not play tonight. If that's the case, the Senators could dress W Brian McGrattan for his first playoff game or insert D Lawrence Nycholat in lineup and go with seven blueliners. Asked who would play, Murray said with a laugh: "Probably me. The good thing is I don't have to make that decision right now. I wouldn't want to say anything and have the other guys be discouraged." ... Ottawa W Patrick Eaves, who suffered a concussion in the first round against Pittsburgh, made it through a full practice yesterday. Murray said there is no timetable for Eaves' return and wasn't sure if he'd accompany the squad to New Jersey. "He won't go real hard for the time being," said Murray. "We took him out because we had a bigger group and there wouldn't be as any many (repetitions) for him. We're just going to let him grow into it. I don't know the time frame, but I know he's getting better." ... If the Senators win the series tonight, Murray will give the players a couple of days off. "You want to have time to give the players a chance to get away from it. We'll try to get this over with (tonight) and then deal with what we have to deal with," said Murray.


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