Thursday, March 02, 2006

Sens Game Report - Ottawa at Pittsburgh - Wednesday, March 01, 2006

photo from CP and
Picking up where we left off – being bad

The Balance in the Bank:

Final Score: Ottawa wins 4-3
Ottawa goals: Schaefer (14) on a generous rebound of Fisher’s shot, Alfredsson (35) on another generous rebound from Meszy’s point shot, Pothier (2) on a slapshot from the point, Heatley (35) on a textbook 2-on-1 feed from Alfie.
Making Sens(e): Alfredsson, Heatley, Fisher
Not much Sens(e): Redden, Spezza
It was over when: Heatley scored Ottawa’s 4th – we are now 34-0 when scoring four goals. I’ve got an idea! We should try and do that every game.
It was definitely over when: Coach Murray tore the bench a new one after three unanswered goals from the Penguins made a game out of this laugher.
Message in a Molson bottle: Our performance tonight was so mediocre tonight that there is only one team in the NHL we could have beaten. Luckily, we were playing that team. Still, it is Murray that has his work cut out for him and not necessarily Muckler.
Courtesy Boxscore:

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

And down the stretch they come…
But the Sens came out of the gates much like they had just gone into the break – playing just well enough to beat the lowly Penguins. This game was sloppy and occasionally ugly. The guys didn’t play terrible, but they didn’t play great, either. And after a two week hiatus and led by our gold-medal captain, didn’t we all expect to come flying into the last 26 games with the same excellence that we had in October and November? But instead, the game kind of just happened out there. Nothing special, some powerplay goals, killed some penalties, and Emery had a few get by. If this game was a French expression, it would be “comme-ci, comme-ca.” If this game was the afterlife, it would be in purgatory. If this game was an item at Bed Bath and Beyond, it would be on a shelf in the Beyond section. If this game was one of the Baton Rouge ribs on Zdeno Chara’s plate, it would be that small burnt one at the end that you aren’t sure if you should eat or not because it might ruin the taste of the rest of them. And if this game was the first of the 26 games in the Sens homestretch, then you’d say that these guys need to step it up and play a lot better in the next 25 of them, because this performance won’t beat other teams anymore and it certainly won’t win in the playoffs. Snap.

The Usual Suspects
Jason Pezz Dispenser Spezza picked up right where he left off in early February – playing like an idiot. I’m not sure if Jason spent the Olympic break with the team in Italy or somewhere in the Ottawa Valley practicing his moves in Junior B games, but you’d think he would have learned his weaknesses by now. For some reason, his skill continues to improve but his mentality is the same as when Jacques called him a boy playing in a man’s game. Ah, forgiveness please, M. Martin. Spezza has fun out there, which is a good thing, but he can sometimes be way too careless out there, which is a bad thing. This is the time of year when everyone tightens up their game and somebody forgot to mention that to our #1 center. Alfie, can you take care of this, please? Thanks, buddy. Knock him upside the head with your one pound golden donut or whatever those things were that they handed out in Torino. Meanwhile, on the blue line, Wade Redden looked like he was still playing in Italy. Not much more to say on that one other than that it looked like Meszaros was bailing out Redden way too often than a rookie should need to be doing. Redds needs to get his game back now. Alfie, you know the drill.

A Ray of Light?
Not really. It appeared through the first 45 minutes of the game that Emery might pull off a much-needed shutout that would not only get us the win, but do absolute wonders for his psyche going into this little streak of starts he is about to get. Imagine that – a potential goaltending issue in Ottawa and Emery answers the critics with a shutout. But sure enough, as we’ve noticed by now, Rayzer doesn’t ever let just one goal get by. He must have the same mentality that Lalime had after letting one in – the flood gates open and you start to wonder if he’ll actually make a save for the rest of the night. Granted all three goals can be attributed to poor defensive work, I would just once like to see Emery make a highlight reel save or even better, let in one goal and then stop everything other puck he sees all night. Pittsburgh was a tune-up. Washington is a tougher test and a faster team. And Saturday in Toronto will be the pressure cooker that he has been waiting his whole life for. Um, yes, Mr. Muckler, I am almost finished the assignment titled, “do we need to trade for a goalie” but can I turn it in on Sunday instead? I should have all the information I will need. Thanks.

The Loblaws Express Lane – 10 items of less
Alfie was good. He looked a little tired at first, but he does what a good captain does and became one of the best players on the ice. Good chemistry with Heatley. Like it a lot.
Mike Fisher, is there anything you can’t do? I’m starting to think that he might have overtaken Alfredsson for the most dangerous wrist shot on the team (Havlat’s hurt). Fisher with the puck inside the circles will automatically lead to a scoring chance because either he’ll put it in or his shot will catch the goalie off guard and the poor positioning will lead to a juicy rebound on Schaefer’s stick.
Smolinski showed some spark at times throughout the night. It sometimes looks like Smoke turns the passion switch on and off throughout the game whereas a guy like Fish has it turned on and then broke the switch off. Smoke is a third liner now and should be in a position to dominate the opponent’s third lines. Should.
Havlat is practicing with the team with no contact and might be ready in a month. Hooray, yippee. This might be better than any trade deadline acquisition. Unless Havlat is the trade deadline victim.
I concur with Redden when he says that Phillips will be the best defencemen leading into the playoffs. Over the past few years, Phillips has been by far our most consistent spring season d-man.
We were outshot 14-7 in the third period. And we’re supposed to be the best third period team in the NHL.

Upcoming Games
Tonight hosting Washington, 7:30pm
Saturday at Toronto, 7:00pm
Next Monday at Tampa Bay, 7:30pm Be there.

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