Sunday, March 26, 2006

Sens Game Report - OTT @ PHI - 3.25.06

Photo: (AP Photo/Rusty Kennedy), espn.com
Nothing stirring this punch.

The Balance in the Bank:

Final Score: Philadelphia wins 6-3
Ottawa goals: Pothier (5, pp) on a point shot feed from Alfie, Heatley (40, pp) helping Morrison get an assist in his first game, Vermette (20, sh) in alone for his league-leading sixth shorthanded goal.
Making Sens(e): Alfie, Vermette, Morrison, Novak
Not much Sens(e): Spezza, Redden, Pothier, Meszaros, Schubert
It was over when: Philly put up another first period 4-spot and we had to pull Emery for Morrison.
It was definitely over when: Down 4-1 in the last minute of the second, Kelly’s goal to bring the game to a reasonable deficit was called back and instead McGratts was given an interference penalty. Instead of a 4-2 game going into the third (our best period), we were still down 4-1 and short-handed going into the third (and Philly scored on that powerplay).
Message in a Molson bottle: Worst defensive performance of the year, bar none. These turnovers weren’t just giveaways in our own end but were actual assists on Philly goals. Carter’s goal really could have included an assist to Pothier.
Courtesy Boxscore: http://sports.espn.go.com/nhl/boxscore?gameId=260325015

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

A defensive disaster
We are way too strong defensively to possibly think that we can play this poorly on a regular basis. This was as bad as our defencemen have ever played and not even Zdeno Chara with a tummy full of ribs could have stopped these shenanigans. To say that Filip Novak was our best defencemen in this game really sums up how the other five played. It wasn’t that there were a lot of turnovers because we never really had control of the puck in our zone long enough to give it away to begin with. On the bright side, Schubert is more of a forward and we might get Chara and Volchenkov back this week. Furthermore, Filip Novak is actually very strong at bringing the puck through the neutral zone, although Philly had really taken off the pressure by the time the kid got his first shift! These guys need to learn the lesson from this game that if they don’t play their arses off, then most teams will put up a four-spot in the first period.

The Importance of Being Early
This is not the first time that our Sens have given up four goals in the first period. We already accomplished that feat earlier in the season against these same Flyers and also against les Habs on Hockey Day in Canada. Perhaps it is me just being a na├»ve idiot, but I thought that in all three games we’ve had a chance to come back. In the last Philly game, we ended up losing 4-3. 4-1 in Montreal and had constant pressure after the first. And this time we were on that path until Kelly’s goal was waived off for McGrattan’s interference penalty. I’m not claiming to be brilliant here, but I think it would be easier to win the game if we DIDN’T give up four in the first. Now obviously we aren’t trying to put ourselves down early, but we are nearly unstoppable when scoring first and when leading after the first. When we come out strong in the first, we win the game.

Would the real Philadelphia Flyers please stand up?
The articles following this game were all about how the Flyers are healthy and are once again Stanley Cup contenders. Does a couple of decent games do that? What many analysts have failed to identify all season long is that Philly is built with slow defencemen and suspect goaltending. We’ve already established on numerous occasions that Cup winner’s are built from the net out. Meanwhile, Bobby Clarke says he doesn’t care who he has in nets so long as they score goals. This team can score goals alright, but Antero Nittymaki cannot win a Stanley Cup and defencemen that slow and lethargic (including newly signed Denis Gauthier, another sign that the game has passed Clarke by) defencemen will get burned time and again. Best case scenario for the Sens right now is that the Flyers get the Sabres in the first round and Buffalo just wears them down for six or seven games and we sit back and wait. Summing up, I agree that Philly has shown us and others this season that they are talented and experienced. But I just don’t see them as a legitimate contender with such shaky goaltending. Bank this – they get Buffalo first round and lose.

Loblaws Express Lane – 10 items or less
1. Emery wasn’t good but he wasn’t all that bad. The guy must have been exhausted and his blueliners should have just saved the time and put it by him themselves.
2. Morrison looked very solid filling in. Unfortunately for him, I’d imagine that Emery is back in Tuesday and holding onto the starts until Hasek gets back or we have another episode like this.
3. Spezza was brutal. Those passes don’t even work in Binghamton. His one-timer shots also showed why he is the assist guy on that line. Speaking of which, the Pizza line was reunited in the second half of the game to no avail.
4. Vermette becomes our fourth 20-goal scorer. Seven more to go. Sorry to Antoine and his family for once suggesting that he pack his bags and leave.
5. Eaves and Phillips were the only ones not have be a minus on the night – they were even.
6. Don’t forget to check this site daily – http://www.northeasthockey.blogspot.com/.

Upcoming Games
Tuesday, 7:30 vs. New Jersey
Thursday, 7:30 vs. NY Rangers
Saturday, 7:00 vs. Washington – Capitals versus Senators on a Saturday night, I wonder if that will make it on the Hockey Night in Canada schedule. Thanks, Bettman.

1 comment:

Del Taco said...

We need to sit Emery and get Morrison some games. Emery needs to be well rested for the playoff run he is about to embark on. Is it just me, or does anyone else think Hasek is done?