There is equal pressure on both teams. This isn't a cop out it is just reality. The Sabres feel the pressure to make it happen this year. Ottawa has pressure to finally make it happen and to beat the Sabres in a playoff series. If they lose to the Sabres again, there are going to be changes on the Ottawa team. They are going to make someone a skapegoat. Also, the Sabres starting at home has it's positives and negatives. I'll take the first two games at home anytime but this Sabres team had the best road record in the league. The road doesn't phase them when they feel like playing. I don't think that will be a problem in this series.
Nonsense, if the Sabres allow the Sens to split in Buffalo, advantage Ottawa. Nothing too drastic, but Ottawa puts itself to get off to an early 3-1 lead. If the Sens find away to take both games, it will be over quickly before the Sabres knew what hit like last year with us, 4 or 5 max. Even if the Sens were to somehow drop both early games in Buffalo, you are behind the 8-ball but at least you are coming home to your pumped-up crowd to get back into it in game 3. Winning that next game would be huge and I am certain the Sens would come with their best effort in the playoffs. They haven't had to been pushed in a psoition like that so far in the playoffs. Plus Buffalo has not proven they could respond any better against a lesser opponent in NYR in that very position.
If the series goes the distance and game 7 at home, I like Buffalo. If it doesn't i.e. 4 5 or 6, I favour Ottawa.
If Ottawa gets just solid goaltending from Ray, no matter if Miller stands on his head, they win. Ray just not need lose it cuz we don't need him to win us a series against anybody.
The Sabres won the President's Trophy and they have home ice advantage. THese two factors alone make the Sens underdogs. There have been no upsets in this year's playoffs. As a Sens fan, I'm hoping this series will be the first upset
All this underdog stuff is media and fan based. There are times when a team feeling pressure of being a heavy favorite can let it affect their performance but not this late in the playoffs. Any team to get to the conference finals is a great team and worthy/capable of advancing to the Cup.
I'm sure both teams feel some sort of stress but this underdog crap is silly. These teams hate each other and REALLY want to win. The underdog tag is meaningless at this stage.
If anything, I think a lot of pressure has been lifted from the Sens. They've gone deep in the playoffs and have, at least temporarily, shed the playoff failure label. Now they won't have to be bothered by listening to media harp about "playoff failures" and "pressure to overcome the past".
Beyond a shadow of a doubt, the pressure is ten-fold on the Sabres. Not just because they have home field advantage, but because the entire city is waiting, watching, praying and hoping for them to finally win something. You can't separate the Sabres out of everyday life in Buffalo. If a Sabre has a nose bleed, they interrupt the TV schedule to have an on scene report. No kidding, this is very, very serious business in Buffalo.
Ottawa has played so well during these playoffs that there is no reason to believe they can't keep it up against Buffalo. If they steal a game in the first two, they'll be in the drivers seat. I would rate those odds as pretty damn good.