Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Senators Have Opportunity to Play Spoiler Role to the Hilt as Season Closes

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Senators Have Opportunity to Play Spoiler Role to the Hilt as Season Closes

Article excerpt

Senators could be obstacle for other teams

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OTTAWA - His coach may dislike the word, but Ottawa forward Zack Smith says the Senators are determined to act as spoiler over the next three weeks.

Senators head coach Guy Boucher called the word spoiler a "loser comment" earlier this month, but Ottawa has the opportunity to play the role to the hilt as their season draws to a close.

The Senators are coming off impressive back-to-back wins against the Florida Panthers, who were four points out of a playoff spot entering Thursday's games, and the Tampa Bay Lightning, who are trying to hold off Boston for first place in the Atlantic Division.

On Friday the Senators host the Dallas Stars, who have a tenuous hold on a Western Conference wild-card spot.

The Senators knew long ago that the post-season was out of reach for them, and while they are still feeling the sting of missing the playoffs, they want to end the season proving they are better than the 25-33-11 record they have posted thus far.

If they spoil the plans of other teams along the way, all the better.

"There's teams that are fighting to get in and if we can play spoilers that's what we'll do," Smith said. "We're not here to do any other teams any favours. If we can play spoilers, that's what we'll do. When you're not in the playoffs you've got to find motivation in different places and playing spoiler is just one of the things."

While some fans might prefer to see the Senators lose down the stretch to improve their odds at the draft lottery, the players are having none of it.

"We're all competitors, we all draw paycheques here and I'm not going to come in here and roll over," said defenceman Mark Borowiecki. "I'm not going to come in here and mail it in at practice and mail it in at games, that's not the way I'm wired. Not the way I've been brought up, not the way I hold myself and everyone else in here would agree. Whatever happens, happens, but we're all going to come in here and try."

Stars defenceman Marc Methot was expected to make his return to Ottawa since being chosen by Vegas in the expansion draft and later being traded to Dallas, but the Ottawa native suffered a hand injury in Tuesday's game against the Montreal Canadiens and is unlikely to play. …

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