Eyes on the prize

Sen­a­tors de­fence­man Marc Methot fo­cused on get­ting to Stan­ley Cup fi­nal, not get­ting even with Pen­guins’ Sid­ney Crosby

Cape Breton Post - - Sports - BY LISA WAL­LACE

Re­tal­i­a­tion is not on Marc Methot’s mind as the Ot­tawa Sen­a­tors pre­pare to take on Sid­ney Crosby and the Pitts­burgh Pen­guins in the NHL Eastern Con­fer­ence Fi­nal.

Methot suf­fered a badly lac­er­ated pinky fin­ger when Crosby, who was not as­sessed a penalty on the play, slashed the Sen­a­tors de­fence­man’s left hand in a March 23 game. The in­jury forced Methot to miss the last nine games of the reg­u­lar sea­son and one play­off game, but he said he’s wor­ried about big­ger things than get­ting even with the Pen­guins star.

“I think for me, all that’s be­hind me and I’m just fo­cused on the se­ries and fo­cused on the Pen­guins and that’s go­ing to be the goal for me mov­ing for­ward,” Methot said Thurs­day. “I’m just go­ing to play him hard like ev­ery other guy on that team and fo­cus on win­ning.”

The Sen­a­tors elim­i­nated the New York Rangers in six games in the Eastern Con­fer­ence semi­fi­nals, ad­vanc­ing to the third round for the first time since 2007 and the third time in fran­chise his­tory.

This se­ries, be­gin­ning Satur­day night in Pitts­burgh, is the fifth be­tween the teams. The Pen­guins have won the past four, most re­cently a 4-1 vic­tory in the lock­out-short­ened 2012-13 sea­son.

Once again the Sen­a­tors will be con­sid­ered the un­der­dog, but it’s a role they’ve rel­ished this post-sea­son in se­ries wins over the Bos­ton Bru­ins and the Rangers.

“No one’s pick­ing us again, for sure, but at the end of the day though you still have to win four games and it’s hard to do,” said for­ward Clarke MacArthur. “Whether you’ve got the up­per hand or not it’s just re­ally tough to get the four games so there’s al­ways a chance.”

Through the first two rounds the Sen­a­tors often frus­trated op­po­nents with their play through the neu­tral zone and know they will need to ad­here to Guy Boucher’s sys­tem if they hope to beat the Pen­guins.

“It’s not one of those se­ries where you can ex­pect to just maybe over­power them or try to go out of your way to be phys­i­cal, be­cause I think that’s where they thrive and they ex­pose teams,” Methot said. “When you try to run them out of the build­ing they just seem to keep claw­ing back and ex­pose guys and when you’re get­ting a lit­tle tired out there, it just takes a nice lit­tle play and they’ve got a goal. For us our struc­ture is more im­por­tant than ever.”

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