Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Sens Game Report - Ottawa at TBay - Monday, March 6, 2006

It’s on.

The Balance in the Bank:

Final Score: Ottawa wins 4-nil
Ottawa goals: Vermette (14) on a pass from Schubert, Spezza (16) on a pass to the slot from Heatley, Fisher (20) on that nasty wrister down the left side, Schaefer (16) from Pothier to put it out of reach
Making Sens(e): Spezza and Heatley, Emery
Not much Sens(e): McGrattan was a scratch, so he wasn’t very good – foot still bruised from blocking a shot in the Toronto game.
It was over when: Ottawa scored 1:31 apart in the second to turn a 1-0 game into a 3-0 game.
It was definitely over when: We outshot them 17-7 in the third and really just prevented any type of late attack.
Message in a Molson bottle: A solid all-around effort from the top lines to the defencemen to the netminder. The road trip is off to a pretty good start thus far.
Courtesy Boxscore: http://sports.espn.go.com/nhl/boxscore?gameId=260306020

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

I like my Pizza Line extra saucy
The only drawback of Heatley and Spezza playing so well together again is that Don Cherry won’t shut up about how right he was that linemates should have been playing together in Italy. Besides sour grapes, we should be thrilled that these two kids have rediscovered that chemistry that once made John Muckler a potential write-in vote for PM. I know I’ve Spezza a good ribbing (that’s too easy) over the past few months about his strength, discipline, and defensive development, but I must say I love where his head is at these days and so long as he and Heaters have this buzz going, let’s just sit back and enjoy.

A beaming Ray of sunshine
How clever that in the Sunshine State, it is the visitor’s Ray that is doing all the shining. Emery was solid again putting up 31 saves and winning his fourth (of four) since the break. It has been a rare occurrence that Ottawa fans have been forced to live with our backup for an extended period. And it is a great feeling to know that the guy that we stick in there is doing one heck of a job. A while back, John Muckler, General Manager Extraordinaire, stated that Ray Emery was the goaltender of the future in Ottawa. Fans looked at the guy that was better known for fights than for wins and said, “has the old man lost it?” But the more we doubt, the more he proves that he knows exactly what he is doing. Beyond the cockroaches and tattoos is a kid that was thrown into a difficult situation filled with pressure and opportunity. While Emery may not have known it, I would go as far to say that his career in Ottawa may well have depended on how he performed – a sloppy job would lead Muckler to bringing in a replacement, shattering Emery’s confidence and potentially leading to us letting him go. Instead, Ray has won all four contests and is playing better than he ever has. Continue on, Mr. Muckler, or should we call you the Oracle?

I make mistakes
Antoine Vermette is playing the best hockey of his life right now. He is skating better than ever, faster than ever, and stronger than ever. His points total continue to rise and he has even shown signs of toughness. In the Tampa game, he was hit across the head with his own helmet, leading to a two-game suspension of some guy whose name I won’t try and spell or pronounce. Before the break when we were inconsistent, Vermette was regularly making Sense and playing hard. Now that the rest of the team has caught up, let’s not Vermette’s performance be overshadowed. I once called for the kid to be traded after I had given up on his slow development. I might have been wrong here and I’m glad he’s still with the team! Great penalty killer, too. Solid performance tonight, again, and he continues to earn every second of the ice time he gets.

Loblaws Express Lane – 10 items or less
Fisher was 70% in the faceoff circle. Awesome. This guy is a second-line center, so don’t get all upset when Jokinen stays in Florida after Thursday.
Can’t believe Pothier didn’t score tonight! What a bust. I was hoping for four in a row.
I get to go to the Atlanta game Friday and proudly sport the Sens Heatley jersey and will stuff dirty socks in the mouths of anyone that dares to boo him.
Don’t forget to check this site daily – www.northeasthockey.blogspot.com.

Upcoming Games
Wednesday at Florida, 7:00pm
Friday at Atlanta, 7:00pm – the votes are in - and I’m going with my Heatley jersey.
Sunday at Washington, 3:00pm

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