Regehr believes underdog role will benefit Senators

Updated: May 29, 2007, 3:28 PM ET
By David Amber | Special to ESPN.com

In 2004, Robyn Regehr and the Calgary Flames came within one game of winning the Stanley Cup. This season, Regehr and the Flames didn't get out of the first round.

The 27-year-old defenseman, who played on Canada's World Cup of Hockey championship team in 2004, understands that fine line between winning and losing. So we called on one of the Flames' top blueliners to preview what promises to be a hard-fought Stanley Cup finals.

Robyn Regehr (#28)
AP Photo/Sam Lung, CPRobyn Regehr came within one game of winning the Stanley Cup with the Flames in 2004.

Forwards
Ottawa: Their first line is dynamic. You have the playmaker in Jason Spezza, the shooter in Dany Heatley, and Daniel Alfredsson does it all and provides leadership. Their third and fourth lines are pretty similar to most you see in the league. They play physical and will check hard, but there is nothing spectacular about them.

Anaheim: They have two very consistent scoring lines. They aren't top-heavy like Ottawa, but they have skill guys who are solid and have a lot of depth. What I like about Anaheim is its third line, with Samuel Pahlsson, Rob Niedermayer and Travis Moen -- that is a great checking line. They are big and physical, especially Moen and Niedermayer; they really pound the other team's defense. Pahlsson is a little smaller, but he is strong on his skates and is really underrated.

Advantage: Anaheim.

Defense
Ottawa: These guys are good. The Sens have been the best group collectively so far in the playoffs. They have the game's best two "shutdown" defensemen in Chris Phillips and Anton Volchenkov. Those guys just aren't making any mistakes right now and they are a lot faster than people think. Then, they have Wade Redden, who provides a great offensive spark by being able to man the power play or jump up on the attack.

Anaheim: They have two great defensemen in Chris Pronger and Scott Niedermayer. Those two guys are on the ice at least 30 minutes a game -- each. Their talent really drops off after those two. Depth on defense could be an issue against Ottawa's second and third lines.

Advantage: Ottawa.

Goalies
Ottawa: Ray Emery has had a great run in the playoffs. He beat Martin Gerber out of a job early in the season and has really never looked back. He is on a roll. He's big, athletic and he doesn't over-read shooters, so he is rarely out of position. I like the way he is pretty calm back there, too.

Anaheim: Jean-Sebastien Giguere is not as athletic as Emery. He's a blocker-type goalie; he simply tries to get in front of everything. He's strong at cutting off angles and getting his huge frame in front of everything. Giguere has a reputation as a playoff goalie, and that is big. He has the experience this time of year.

Advantage: Anaheim. Tough to call, both guys are great. But the experience in the finals gives Giguere the slight edge.

Coaches
Ottawa: This team struggled so badly early on, it's petty amazing Bryan Murray was able to get things straightened out. Murray almost lost his job during the bad start, so he has done a really good job turning things around. No team has been hotter in the second half of the season than Ottawa.

Anaheim: Randy Carlyle has done a good job. He had to deal with a lot of injuries late in the season to some key players, like Pronger and Niedermayer.

Advantage: Ottawa.

Intangibles
Ottawa: They came into the playoffs as the underdog. I think that has helped this team. They are playing like they have nothing to lose. When we got to the finals a few years ago, we felt that same way -- no one expected us to be there. So we were able to take a bit of the pressure off. I don't think being the road team will affect these guys. They closed out both New Jersey and Buffalo on the road this year.

Anaheim: This team has been picked to win the Cup since the preseason, so the pressure is on them to win. If they lose, the season will be considered a failure by a lot of people, so that's a tough mental challenge to face.

Advantage: Ottawa.

Prediction
I pick the Senators in seven.

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

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