Beat the bad teams
The Balance in the Bank:
Final Score: Ottawa wins 5-2
Ottawa goals: Alfredsson (38, PP) on a screened point shot, Meszaros (7, PP) also from the point, Kelly (8) on a 4-on-4 pass from Alfie after the captain was stopped on a breakaway, Neil (15, PP) tipping in Meszy’s point shot, Vermette (18, SH) sent in alone after Crosby muffed the puck on the point.
Making Sens(e): Arnason, Chara, Meszaros, Redden (except for his last shift)
Not much Sens(e): Heatley, Varada
It was over when: Meszaros answered their game-tying goal 17 seconds after with a powerplay marker.
It was definitely over when: Fans were yelling for pizza late and Cairns had racked up 40 minutes in penalties. Oh yeah, and we were playing Pittsburgh.
Message in a Molson bottle: The Senators are very good and the Penguins are very, very bad. That about does it. It wasn’t that great of a game and we definitely had lapses of laziness. No matter, we played a terrible team and allowed some younger guys to rack up a few points – we call it a race to the stick rack. On a side note, we have 100 points and are tied for first in the NHL with Detroit.
Courtesy Boxscore: http://sports.espn.go.com/nhl/boxscore?gameId=260321014
Grab a Timmy’s double-double and listen to what really happened:
Stop Meszing around and tell me who that is.
It took 68 games, but people have finally figured out who Andrej Meszaros really is. Tonight’s game, the first Ottawa game shown on OLN in the United States all season, allowed the broadcasting panel to put Meszy on their all-rookie team. How nice. The kid responded with a very solid performance with Redds, a goal and an assist (point shot tipped by Neil) and a very interesting open ice hit on Sid the Kid. Oh yeah, he also had his first fight – which will hopefully be his last. Still leading the NHL in plus/minus, the kid deserves every bit of recognition that he gets from here on out. Let’s just hope Brian Lee can develop this fast!
Heatley, Varada, and Arnason – worst line ever
It was just ugly. Arnason actually played hands-down his best game as a Senator, but sadly his new linemates played like his old Blackhawks colleagues. Varada should not be allowed to have the puck on his stick again after the way he played tonight. Heatley is afforded a break because we all know that he takes it down a peg or two with Spezza out of the lineup (the Dispenser had a hip pointer or some other problem that nobody really understands but doesn’t want to ask for fear of embarrassment at not knowing). Heaters finished the night at minus-2 and only Varada (1) had fewer shots on goal than him (2), not counting McGrattan’s 4 shifts. The moral of the story here is that the coach is allowed to tinker with the lines when we have some key injuries and we are playing a team that really should cease to exist at this point. One more thing on the Penguins - we'd benefit a lot more from a scrimmage at the Bell Sensplex than we did from this one. Back to the Sens – let’s not fret over this disaster of a line knowing that the coach won’t let them touch the ice at the same time during play again (mainly Varada). Arnason was very strong, though, but he just didn’t have anyone to play with.
Was that defensive leadership we saw…?
First, let me finally give credit to Redden for showing some excellent signs of leadership. Redds isn’t afraid to skate up to the opposition and tell them to @#$% %$#^ !%!@#. He can muck it up with Boguniecki after the latter drilled Volchenkov out of the game with a scary hit. And he was finally clearing out bodies in front of Emery like an Olympic defencemen is supposed to. It was great to see Redden’s passion tonight. Chara also took some time to pick the leftover ribs out of Eric Cairn’s teeth with his fists at the end of the second after taking a nice spear from the Penguins outspoken moron that will be suspended for leaving the bench. By counting the number of punches the big guy landed, I would think Cairn’s teeth are clean now. Phillips also threw in a couple of assists and has been, in my opinion, our most consistent defensive defencemen this calendar year – if only he was fast enough to catch that cab back in 2002! But he wasn’t and that cab was mine. Bottom line – we officially have the best blue line in the NHL, bar none.
Loblaws Express Lane – 10 items or less
1. The buzz on Arnason so far this week is that he is catching up to Randy Lee’s Sens workout regimen. I agree with Galley in the Afternoons – he isn’t in Ottawa shape yet. Put him on a couple of post-game TSN interviews with Farhan while he works out on the bike (just like every Redden interview ever) and he’ll get caught up to speed. Nothing like doing an interview on a bike to get the blood flowing.
2. Did Emery play well tonight? Who knows – the Penguins just didn’t have many great shots tonight. What he did do, though, is win his 10th this month, a Senators record, and two shy of the NHL record for wins in a month. Should we really have gone after CuJo?
3. Volchenkov will hopefully be okay after Buguniecki put him head first into our boards – no call, by the way. Might be a concussion - don't look away because we're pretty banged up right now.
4. Neiler scored on the powerplay for the third straight game, scoring all three the same way – tip-ins. Nobody said they should be pretty on the powerplay.
5. Speaking of the powerplay, it was strong at times and pathetic at times, but those ups and downs can happen sometimes, especially when the Pens give us 75 minutes in penalties.
6. Don’t forget to check this site daily – www.northeasthockey.blogspot.com.
Friday, 8:00 at Buffalo (note the bizarre start time for an EST game)
Saturday, 7:00 at Philadelphia
Next week: NJD, NYR, WAS