Next up are the hated rivals from just across the nearby border.
What's clear is that a Sabres-Senators matchup has been one most anticipated by hockey fans on both sides of the New York-Ontario border since the Sabres dispatched Ottawa in five games of a second-round series last year.
"There's a lot of history,'' Ruff said. "Whether that has any effect on it, I can't tell you right now. They've got all the motivation they need, and we've got lots of motivation.''
The Senators are certainly up for the challenge.
"There's been a lot of contact between the two organizations, and I think that's terrific,'' Senators coach Bryan Murray said. "I think we thought that we were one of the good teams in the second half of the year and we knew they were the best team in the East for the most part of the year. So I think it's a great matchup for us.''
Ottawa outscored Buffalo 33-25 in winning five of eight regular-season meetings, but the Sabres won two of the last three. That includes a 6-5 shootout win at Buffalo on Feb. 22, when the Sabres rallied from a two-goal deficit and overcame the loss of Drury, who was knocked out and bloodied by Neil's hit early in the second period.
The play sparked a brawl involving all 12 players on the ice, led to 100 minutes in penalties and the NHL fining Ruff $10,000.
This series should be a good one. I can't wait.