Giant challenge ahead

BRUCE GARRIOCH, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 8:08 AM ET

The Giant Killers of the NHL playoffs have one more giant to slay.

The Senators' first playoff victim was the Pittsburgh Penguins with Sidney Crosby.

Then it was Martin Brodeur and the New Jersey Devils.

And on Saturday, the Senators polished off the Buffalo Sabres, the Presidents' Trophy winners as the best team in the regular season.

But the next challenge, against either Detroit or Anaheim, will be the biggest one. At stake will be the NHL's most prestigious chalice -- the Stanley Cup. The series could begin on the road on Saturday.

"The job is not done," said Senators GM John Muckler at a news conference yesterday. "Up until this point, we've played very well. We've got a very good chance of doing good things and we can hardly wait for it to start."

That might be why the celebration in the Ottawa room was tempered.

"That's the way our club has been all year: Very business like," said Muckler. "From training camp until now, they've had only one thing in their mind -- to win a Stanley Cup. It's nice to be Eastern conference champions, but there's another step to it and everybody feels that way.

The Senators had a day off to relax after the emotional 3-2 overtime victory in Game 5. The Senators report back to work today, with a practice at Scotiabank Place.

While many of the Senators would like them to take a run at former goalie Dominik Hasek and the Wings, the Ducks would also be formidable opposition with Chris Pronger and Scott Niedermayer on the blue line.

"They're both excellent hockey clubs," said Muckler. "They're built in different ways. I'd say Anaheim is more physical than Detroit. (The Wings) have a group of veterans who have been around a long time. They're a business- like team with strong goalkeeping.

"If you're asking for a preference, I have no preference. I know whoever we play is going to be a good hockey club. You're going to have to play your best hockey to win."

The Senators have done a solid job to this point by beating the Penguins, Devils and Sabres in just 15 games.

"It was a tough road and we passed," said Muckler. "I've always said, 'To be a champion, you have to be able to beat the team you're playing against, when the team is playing its best hockey.' You have to have the ability to come up another notch. If you can't do that, you're not going to be a champion.

"This team has that ability. We're coming from behind when we get down, we're getting big goals at the right time and a lot of different people are scoring. That's a good sign. We've got focus. We're always under control."


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