McCabe believes this is Sabres' series to lose

Updated: May 11, 2007, 1:59 PM ET
By David Amber | Special to ESPN.com

Understandably, Bryan McCabe hasn't been glued to the television set to watch the NHL playoffs.

During the regular season, the Maple Leafs blueliner saw more than enough of the Ottawa Senators and Buffalo Sabres. The 31-year-old knows firsthand what it's like to try to move Dany Heatley from the front of the net or stop the shifty Daniel Briere one-on-one.

Bryan McCabe
Rafael Suanes/WireImage.comBryan McCabe believes the Sabres have too much depth to lose in the Eastern Conference finals.

McCabe gives us his preview of the Eastern Conference finals between No. 1 Buffalo and No. 4 Ottawa.

Greatest strength
Sabres: Depth. They have so many good players. They roll four lines and every one can score. I think that's their biggest threat. They don't really have one of those marquee $7 million a year superstar players, but they do have a bunch of guys who can all score 25 goals. As a defenseman, it's not much fun when, every time you look up, there comes another great skater who can handle the puck.

Senators: Scoring. This team can really put the puck in the net. Ever since I have been in Toronto, that's what the Sens have been known for: their ability to score. And they do have a superstar in Dany Heatley. This guy has proven he is a legit 50-goal scorer. The puck movement for Ottawa is great, both out of their end and on the attack. Jason Spezza is one of the game's best passers. [Daniel Alfredsson] is playing great, too. That top line is scary good, so that is the team's greatest strength.

Potential weakness
Sabres: Experience. They are basically a young team. I know they made it to the conference finals last year; but if you look at their roster, every guy is basically in that 22- to 29-year-old range. I think only Teppo Numminen is considered an old guy. So maybe experience could be an issue. Hard to say, though.

Senators: Depth. It's funny, because Ray Emery has been great so far. I know goaltending is what people say is the potential weakness on this team. The way he's been playing, it's hard to say he's a weakness because he has been so solid. So I guess I say the Senators' lack of depth is their greatest potential weakness. They aren't as deep as Buffalo. As a series goes on and injuries happen, sometimes depth becomes a factor.

X Factor
Sabres: Paul Gaustad. This is a guy no one ever talks about, but he is a great checker, he's good on draws and he does all the little things that don't show in the final stats but win you games. He's the kind of guy, like Kris Draper or Tim Taylor, that you need if you are going to make a run in the playoffs.

Senators: Ray Emery. I know this seems obvious, but I think the Sens will win or lose this series on his shoulders. He has been red-hot so far and showed a lot of poise for a young goalie. If he keeps it up, they will go to the finals; if not, they won't get past the Sabres.

Prediction
Buffalo in 7: Throughout this year, the Sabres have proven they are one of the best, if not the best, team in the league. They are just so solid up front and in the net. Ryan Miller is one of the most underrated goalies in the league. They can beat you by opening things up or by locking things down. I just think this is their series to win, but it won't be easy.

ESPN reporter David Amber is a frequent contributor to ESPN.com.

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