Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Sens Game Report - NJD @ OTT - 3.28.06

Photo: (AP PHOTO/CP, Fred Chartrand), espn.com

Winning shootouts is overrated.

Also, why can’t we solve the trap when we used to do it for the Jacques years? On the topic of the trap: the definition of insanity is trying the same thing over and over and expecting a different result.

The Balance in the Bank:

Final Score: New Jersey wins 3-2 in the shootout
Ottawa goals: Heatley (41) on a powerplay shot from the point that made it through, Heatley (42) tipping in Pothier’s point shot with 31 seconds left and Emery on the bench.
Making Sens(e): Arnason, Emery, Pothier, Schubert
Not much Sens(e): Spezza, Heatley, Alfredsson, Meszaros
It was over when: Alfie was stopped as the third Ottawa skater in the shootout.
It was definitely over when: we read the rules again and it states that if your team doesn’t score a single goal in the shootout, it is much harder to win
Message in a Molson bottle: Getting a point out of a game that we had no business getting a point in is always a good thing. This point belongs to Emery since he is the only reason that we even had the opportunity to tie it up in the last minute. If we can’t find a way to beat the trap in the playoffs….you know what? Let’s just find a way to beat the trap in the playoffs, okay?
Courtesy Boxscore: http://sports.espn.go.com/nhl/boxscore?gameId=260328014

Grab a Timmy’s double-double and listen to what really happened:

Stale Pizza
You may have noticed that Heatley scored our only two goals but still found his way onto the not much sense list. Why? Because he and his linemates stunk tonight. Their passing was terrible, their shots didn’t get through, and their stickhandling made McGrattan look like a potential shootout sniper. But as the broadcasting team of Brown and Galley pointed out, each of these three guys are so talented that they can change the outcome of a game in one shift. For those keeping track at home, we call them gamebreakers. Heatley was a gamebreaker tonight being able to miraculously tip in Pothier’s shot with 31 seconds left. Heatley can coast all night, not backcheck and not hustle at all, but it takes one flick of his stick and Joe Fan falls in love all over again. I love the fact that we have so many gamebreakers on our team. I hate the fact that we have to discuss how they can suck for 59:58 and then shine for two seconds. This game was in the hands of the Devils from the drop of the puck and our heroes on the pizza line did little to change that course.

Black and blue on the blue line
It isn’t enough that Volchenkov is still stiff and in the Kremlin of his mind after Boguniecki’s hit, and Chara’s hand is still the size of a full rack of ribs after reshaping Cairns’ face. We are already getting to experience the beginning Filip Novak Era here in Ottawa and now we’ll see if there is anyone else to call up after Phillips left the match in the first with a knee injury. He twisted up with Parise behind our net and there was mention of a hyperextension. Moreover, Wade Redden was a little slower with a bad hip or whatever it was that was bothering him and he favoured it all night with decreased mobility. And finally, for those that didn’t see the game and the number of shots that Meszaros blocked, let’s just say that he doesn’t have to worry about babies for a little while. Yowzers!

What’s in a line?
There are eleven games remaining before the second season begins and we are far from knowing how our lines will roll out. Coach Murray said that he wanted to get a firm idea of which lines we will use going into the playoffs and set them for the last 7-8 games. Obviously with the number of key injuries we have right now, it isn’t easy to do, but at least we are learning which lines we DON’T want to keep together. First off, I don’t think we should have Varada on a line with any bona fide scorers. Sure he is a gritty player, but he gets in too many situations where he has to stickhandle along the boards and out into the slot. Secondly, I think the Pizza Line must be put together and kept together. It is nice to spread out the offence at times, but when Havlat and Fisher are back, then we should have enough secondary scoring to allow these three dudes to play together. The Fishing line was great (Fisher, Neil, Schaefer), but is that really the best option when everyone else is back? After the Pizza Line, try your hand at sorting out three other lines with this group: Fisher (C, W), Smolinski (C, W), Arnason (C), Kelly (C), Vermette (C, W), Schaefer (LW), Varada (LW), Havlat (RW), McGrattan (RW), Eaves (W), Neil (RW), Schubert (LW, D). Good luck. To make it easier, count on McGrattan and Schubert being on the shelf. But you will still need to decide who sits between Varada and Eaves. A good problem to have, though, eh?

Loblaws Express Lane – 10 items or less
1. Emery was awesome and stole this point. That has a nice ring to it. Emery’s confidence must be at an all-time high right now.
2. McGrattan’s fight with Janssen in the first was a blast to watch, even if the punches were few and far between. Highlights of the fight were both fighters waving off the linesmen and also McGrattan sticking his tongue out at his smaller opponent.
3. Arnason must be snake-bitten. Another four shots tonight as he is now scoreless in 10 games as a Senator.
4. Too many powerplays in the first period without even a scoring chance. We’re supposed to come out early in the first and instead we sat back and let the Devils institute the trap. Yes, it still exists.
5. Alfie had an off night – no way of dodging that.
6. Meszaros the Superkid had an assist on New Jersey’s second goal on a stroke of bad luck. Trying to clear the puck out shorthanded, he fanned on it and the puck found its way right onto Gionta’s stick and the open net.
7. Not feeling great about Gomez’ goal in the shootout – it was reviewed and there didn’t seem to be anything conclusive that showed it in. But at the other end, no point in complaining about the Gomez goal when three of our best haven’t scored in years on the shootout!
8. Don’t forget to check this site daily – www.northeasthockey.blogspot.com. This time, post your playoff lines!

Upcoming Games
Thursday, 7:30 vs. NY Rangers
Saturday, 7:00 vs. Washington
Next Monday, 7:30 vs. Atlanta

3 comments:

SensFan44 said...

Here are my lines:
Heatley Spezza Alfredsson
Vermette Arnason Havlat
Schaefer Smolinski Fisher
Eaves Kelly Neil

I know that is some mix-and-match, but you've got your scoring line, your speed line, your working line, and your checking line.

carl jr said...

No, you can't split up Fisher's line just yet, and Smolinski is too inconsistent. This is what wins the Cup:
Pizza Line - Spezza, Heatley, Alfie
Fisher Line - Fisher, Schaefer, Neil
Secondary Scoring line - Arnason, Smolinski, Havlat
Grinding line - Kelly, Vermette, Varada.

Eaves sadly has to take to the pine and wait for our first injury. We need guys like Varada on the ice in the playoffs.

Tomkat 4 life said...

listen to yourselves, trying to spread secondary scoring around. the best way to get well-rounded lines is to split the whole bunch up. if these are wrong, then i'll retire from all opinion pieces:

spezza with heatley and eaves
arnason with alfie and havlat (LW)
smoke with fisher and vermette
kelly with neil and schaefer

This team doesn't lose a single game!