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Talking to Ottawa 67's head coach Chris Byrne yesterday, the discussion veered from my primary focus -- leading scorer Cody Lindsay -- to looking ahead to the post-season....
As things sit currently, the 67's are second in the Eastern Conference and have a five point lead over division rival Kingston, though the Frontenacs have a game in hand with six games left in their season. But where things get really tricky is at the bottom of the conference standings where entering tonight's games there's only a five point spread separating sixth spot from ninth -- and an early start to summer vacation.
When asked if he had a preference as to who he'd like his team to face -- Sudbury, Peterborough, Niagara or even Oshawa -- Byrne says he's not picky, nor will he underestimate anyone.
"Those teams have all had good stretches in the year where they've played some pretty good hockey," Byrne told the Star on Wednesday. "All those teams are capable of playing good games so for us to win in the playoffs we're going to have to be at the top of our game."
After a terrible 3-9-2-1 start to the season, the 67's rebounded to secure a ticket to the post-season, giving the team a lot a confidence going into the playoffs.
"Some of the teams we lost to early in the year we beat some of the same teams later on in year," said Byrne.
"We're looking to play hard in the first round and make it into the second round and make some noise," added the coach. "In the playoffs it seems if you can get on a roll or get going a little bit and stay healthy than you can play a lot of games and that's what we're shooting for this season."
Offensively, Byrne says he'll be relying on a balanced attack, but you know the opposition will be keying in on the line of Tyler Toffoli, Cody Lindsay and Dalton Smith.
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