Photo from CP and www.tsn.ca
The Balance in the Bank:
Final Score: Ottawa wins 7-1
Ottawa goals: Fisher (19) sent in alone on a pass from Meszaros, Redden (9) on the backdoor powerplay pass, Vermette (13) shorthanded after Kelly’s shot went off the end boards, Spezza (15) on the powerplay from the goal line, Schaefer (15) in alone shorthanded, Pothier (3) from the point on the powerplay for his second in two nights, Smolinski (13) on an absolutely beautiful snap shot from the side boards.
Making Sens(e): Meszaros, Mostly everyone
Not much Sens(e): McGrattan (healthy scratch)
It was over when: Vermette scored shorthanded only 31 seconds into the second. Funny that a 2-0 lead can go either way, but that third goal to open the second period always seems to put it away.
It was definitely over when: Pothier made Ottawa locals fatter with the pizza goal.
Message in a Molson bottle: People had warned Ottawa, including myself, that their level of play wouldn’t cut it against an upstart Capitals team. Luckily, nobody warned the Capitals that the Sens can occasionally have the best team in the NHL again.
Courtesy Boxscore: http://sports.espn.go.com/nhl/boxscore?gameId=260302014
Grab a Timmy’s double-double and listen to what really happened:
Eddie Vedder says, “Can’t find a better win.”
Finally, a complete effort from end to end as we quickly took down….the second worst team in the conference. No matter, let’s take the good from this win and show a little bit of glee that Ray Emery made 30 saves in what was definitely his best performance of 2006. For the time being (the next 24 games until playoffs), this situation can work. If Emery can just hold us in games long enough for us to put up 3 or 4 goals, then he’ll be loved in Ottawa. People will quickly forget the cockroaches he ate, the tattoos he gets, the hair he colours blonde, the sex offenders he paints on his masks, and the GAA of over 7.00 he has during January. His job now and until Dom gets back is to keep us in games. Leave the job of stealing games to Hasek, Emery just needs to keep us in it. He did that tonight and the offence found its stride and its special teams with a converted touchdown. 3 of 5 on the powerplay and two more shorties helped out (we lead the league with 19 now). The most encouraging news of the game was in the completeness of the effort. Emery was sharp, the defencemen didn’t give up the chances, and the forwards made scoring chances into goals. Now if we can just do this against the Carolinas and the Philadelphias…
Back to our roots
Chris Neil of old, we missed you. Neiler managed to pick up for the healthy-scratched McGrattan with a pair of bouts and really made sure that Washington couldn’t gather up any momentum from a winning fight. It didn’t help the Capitals that the first of the two fights came with the score 6-0, but I guess that’s why they are second last in the East. Chara was also back to his old tricks and absolutely crushing people with each chance he had. Even the faithful Washington broadcasters that I had the pleasure of watching were scared of him! Sorry guys, it’s da ribs. Smolinski played well and his point-after goal (if it didn’t go of Witt’s stick), just unreal. Now Brian, I’ve told you enough times now, get the puck up and good things happen. Brent Johnson didn’t even know that he had replaced Kolzig when this puck flew over his shoulder and into the top drawer of the net. And Alfredsson was at his playmaking best, working the powerplay and having a nice, fun time out there. Shocking is that Alfie was only one of two Sens to not record a single shot on net (Eaves left the game).
Whoop-de-doo, Basil, what does it all mean?
Well, Austin, this means that our heroes can now rejoice in the fact that they aren’t as bad as we were starting to think they were. Some may play this game off as a nice practice session against a terrible team. But practice makes perfect, so by this game’s result, we are back on track towards perfection, right? To use an old sports cliché, the only team that can really beat us consistently is ourselves. Boooooooo, sports cliché, booooo. But seriously, there rarely is a loss where we really played at the top of our game and got beat. The times that we lose, you can see Spezza floating up in the rafters and Chara hailing a cab for dinner at the Kanata Centrum and Muckler calling the Swiss Elite League for replacements. In other words, we lose games because we play lazy, sloppy, and stupid. The truth is, though, we aren’t a lazy or sloppy or stupid team, so when we just play our own game, we shouldn’t have a problem. Let’s take this game for what it really is – a nice step in the right direction that helped out rookie goalie get some more demons out of his head, helped out #1 center get his second goal of 2006, helped Meszaros add to his league leading +/- total, helped Mr. Muckler get an idea of what type of deals he needs to make before next Thursday, and helped the millions and gazillions of Ottawa fans around the world sleep better knowing that somewhere, deep down inside, we still have the ability to make another NHL team look completely out of place. Sigh.
Loblaws Express Lane – 10 items or less
How does Alfredsson finish +2 in a 7-1 romp, but his linemates on the Pizza Line finish -1? I guess since 5 of the 7 goals were special teams.
Our best faceoff man tonight – Antoine Vermette was 2 for 4. Ouch. We were creamed in the faceoff circle 38-19, the biggest faceoff coming on our poweplay but after an icing call – it led to Ovechkin zinger.
I wish I could make a case to put Neil back in front of the net on the powerplay, but he didn’t get a second of PP time and we went 3-for-5, so I guess that’s why Coach Murray is behind the bench and I’m in South Carolina second-guessing things.
For those that missed the pregame show on the team1200, Bob McKenzie, the self-proclaimed “most knowledgeable hockey analyst on the planet,” said that not in a million years will Mucks trade Chara or Redden before the deadline if he doesn’t think he can sign them this summer. For those that haven’t followed this story, I’ll speak louder so you can hear this under your rock. Chara and Redden are unrestricted free agents this summer and with Toronto once again screwing up the market by giving Kaberle $4.25 million, we risk losing one of our defencemen to free agency as teams will likely be willing to throw $6-7 million at either one of these guys if they are still unsigned by the free agency date of July 1st. Wouldn’t it be nice to celebrate Canada Day with a Molson Canadian tall boy, a downtown Ottawa concert, and the knowledge that our blue line is intact?
Brian Pothier had over 20 minutes of ice time and had the second most powerplay time of any player on the team (behind Spezza). I like it – it will get even our #6 d-man ready for the tight games.
Don’t forget to check this site daily – www.northeasthockey.blogspot.com and post your thoughts, arguments, or praise.
Saturday at Toronto, 7:00pm
Monday at Tampa Bay, 7:30pm
Wednesday at Florida, 7:00pm
Friday at Atlanta, 7:00pm – should I go? Vote now at americanidol.com