Playoffs start in two weeks. Is the panic button within reach?
The Balance in the Bank:
Final Score: Montreal wins 5-3
Ottawa goals: Meszaros (8) throws one at the night from the point that gets by Eaves’ screen, Heatley (46, pp) sets the single season goal record for Ottawa sliding one past Aebischer down low, Heatley (47) on a great pass from Kelly from behind the goal line.
Making Sens(e): Fisher, Meszaros, Pothier
Not much Sens(e): Spezza, Alfredsson, Arnason, Schaefer, most others
It was over when: Montreal cranked out two unanswered goals in the second period to regain the one-goal lead
It was definitely over when: Montreal’s two unanswered goals turned into four unanswered goals and we started looking at the scoreboard just to know when this debacle would be over.
Message in a Molson bottle: No excuses anymore – tonight we just didn’t have enough to win. Forget the injuries and forget the schedule, this team needs to find a way to win with guts and heart right now, because their legs aren’t carrying them any further. A dominating first period is completely forgotten by the middle of the second period when Montreal started to skate circles around us.
Courtesy Boxscore: http://sports.espn.go.com/nhl/boxscore?gameId=260406014
Grab a Timmy’s double-double and listen to what really happened:
The Gas Tank is Past Empty
Meszaros and Pothier are given clearance for being exhausted physically and mentally. But the rest of the team didn’t have legs in the third period, either. What troubles me the most about all of this is that our entire city is going to attribute this loss to fatigue and injuries. Why is Brad Norton tired? Why are Filip Novak and Christoph Schubert tired? What about Heatley, Spezza, and Alfredsson (besides his flu)? Think about it - each of our forwards are getting the same amount of icetime that they were when Chara et. al. were actually in the lineup. But in the third period when the game was in danger of getting out of hand (and it did), our boys couldn’t keep up. Sure there was the rare rush, but this team had nothing to give in the third and that isn’t going to help you come back from three down against one of the hottest teams in the league.
Ray Emery – Goaltender of the Present?
It should have crossed everybody’s mind by now that there is cause for concern with Dominik Hasek. The playoffs are two weeks away and he hasn’t worn equipment for more than three minutes. This means he hasn’t faced shots, he hasn’t practiced falling down and popping up, and he hasn’t seen anything close to game action. Can the 42-year old miraculously fly past all these milestones in the next 14 days? Instead of answering that question, think about what we should do with Ray Emery. On the one hand, he is coming off the Defensive Player of the Month award and has started al 19 games since Italy. This insane amount of work is preparing him for the hardships of two and a half months of playoffs. On the other hand, the insane amount of work might leave him completely drained and out of gas by the exact date that we need him most. So you make the call – should Emery continue to play every day and get the extra work to prepare for the postseason, or does he need a rest? Please note that besides the fact that Norton is playing in front of him, he’s given up ten goals in the past 48 hours.
Loblaws Express Lane – 10 items or less
1. Alfredsson clearly is not healthy yet. Or at least we hope that is the case.
2. Brad Norton took a 10-minute penalty for not fighting Aaron Downey. The two squared off with the Jack Johnson’s raised high, but waited patiently until the linesmen broke it up. Norton has yet to do anything to show that we shouldn’t be rushing Brian Lee up through the system in the next couple of years, if you catch my drift.
3. Ice time was much more spread out today, with Meszaros leading the way with only 25 minutes, while Arnason, Varada, and Kelly pulled up the rear around 10:30 each. Gotta love how your leading icetime guy still had 12 minutes less than he did the night before.
4. Fisher looks to have his legs back and is back to skating by people on the wing. Too bad Schaefer took the night off.
5. Wouldn’t you think that management is taking these games to evaluate who we miss more between Redden and Chara. It’s looking more and more like we might only be able to sign one of them. Chara is a force, but there is absolutely no outlet pass right now without Redden. The largest contract is said to be awarded to the defenceman that could eat a rack of ribs the fastest (must be licked to the bone and no using wetnaps).
6. Spezza looks great when his pass makes it through a few sets of legs and land on Heatley’s stick. Spezza looks terrible when it doesn’t. Guess which one we see more of? I thought the game plan down the stretch was to be smarter with the puck and play a tighter style. That lasted for a while, eh?
7. Don’t forget to check this site daily – http://www.northeasthockey.blogspot.com/.
Saturday, 7:30 vs. Buffalo
Next Monday, 7:30 @ Montreal
Next Tuesday, 7:30 vs. Boston
Next Thursday, 7:30 vs. Florida
Next Saturday, 7:00 @ Toronto