Monday, April 17, 2006

Sens Game Report - OTT@TOR - 4.15.2006

(AP Photo/Ryan Jackson,CP)
Alfie, what up?

The Balance in the Bank:

Final Score: Toronto wins 5-1
Ottawa goals: Heatley (49) on a gift-wrapped pass from Alfie in the third, cutting the deficit to four goals.
Making Sens(e): Arnason, who didn’t spill his coke in the press box
Not much Sens(e): Most others
It was over when: Stajan opened the second period with another powerplay goal and put us down two with no effort in sight.
It was definitely over when: Antropov scored the fifth at the end of the second and we were officially hoping Tampa would finish off what we didn’t really even start. (Tampa Bay’s win in overtime officially eliminated Toronto from the playoffs.
Message in a Molson bottle: You know, this could have been seen as a meaningless game by some, but that is looking past what we could have accomplished. We had an opportunity to put Toronto out of the playoffs ourselves and instead, most players stayed behind at Baton Rouge or something.
Courtesy Boxscore: http://sports.espn.go.com/nhl/boxscore?gameId=260415021

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

1st period – I’ll have a large Pizza Line, hold the heart and sense of urgency
Sure, we didn’t want to get injured, but there was enough at stake tonight for the boys to at least show up tonight and put forth a half decent effort. First off, the fans in Ottawa still have not had the satisfaction of putting Toronto out of the playoffs. Perhaps it is just me, but I’m tremendously upset by this. Second, we have all but given away the Conference title, now trailing Carolina by one point and needing a win in New York and a Hurricanes regulation loss to take it back. Third, this was our first game with ALL of our forwards in the lineup since November and all we can muster up is one goal against one of the worst defences in the league? It will take Havlat more than one game to get his timing back, but where the other dudes that used to put up an 8-spot on these jokers? While our biggest concern going into the postseason is our goaltending situation, I would think our lack of consistency lately should be a close second at this point.

2nd Period – And starting in goal for your Ottawa Senators…
Peter Sidorkiewicz! Seriously here folks, let’s discuss our goaltending situation for a moment. Dominik Hasek said that he was in Ottawa to win a Stanley Cup and managed to injure his groin (adductor, whatever) in a tournament that had nothing to do with Ottawa winning a Stanley Cup. Ray Emery is starting the postseason (not counting Tuesday’s NYR game) on a five-game losing streak, more losses than his downtime in January that had fans begging Muckler to bring in a legitimate backup. Mike Morrison, now not fresh off of waivers, has started two games and looked less than playoff-ready. Now I’m an optimist and think that this will all be sorted in out in the next five days and Dom will be ready, but is it almost time to worry that we might be playing the red-hot Habs without a solid goaltender of our own? Did you know that in the last 11 years (odd number, I know…) the #2 vs. #7 has seen the underdog win MORE series than the favourites? Are we comfortable going into a 2 vs. 7 series against Montreal (if the Habs hang onto that position) as we back into Game 1?

3rd Period – Line Up and Be Ready
So how will our lines shake out come this weekend? First off, I really think the Pizza Line will be strong and solid and a force to be reckoned with. Will the Smolinski/Schaefer/Havlat line hold up? If it doesn’t show at least some signs of dominance Tuesday, it might be time to consider someone like Vermette or Fisher playing in the middle so that it becomes a legitimate scoring line instead of having a setup man, a scorer, and a two-way forward that comes around from time to time. And what about Tyler Arnason? Coach Murray has said Arnie will have a talk with the coaching staff and it sounds like he’ll have to talk his way back into the lineup. If he pulls it off and decides to start scoring again, then perhaps he is the formidable choice to centre between Schaefer and Havlat. That line could be dangerous if they can click. That would leave Fisher to play with Eaves and Neil and Smolinski to line up between Vermette and Kelly. That fourth line is sort of a mix and match but it matches up some great pairs of chemistry. What do you think?

Loblaws Express Lane – 10 items or less
1. Darcy Tucker, how do you have a job? Was he honestly looking for revenge for Alfie’s hit four years ago when he jumped him late in the third? The only thing that separates Darcy Tucker from Sean Avery (former Kings superpest) is that Tucker thinks he’s respected. What a clown.
2. Heatley’s defence might be closer to Spezza’s than we thought. Backchecking is supposed to last until the puck is on its way out of the zone, not into our net. The kid still scored his 49th and might be our first player to hit 50 after being the first player to get 100 points. Not bad for a comeback season, eh?
3. Thanks to Pynch for some excellent written descriptions of the game.
4. On the bright side, perhaps some of the Toronto brass will think this near-miss of the postseason is a sign that nothing is wrong with the team but a few small tinkerings. Looking forward to embarrassing this team for years to come.
5. Most expect the first two games of our Round One series will be on Friday and Sunday at the Palladium/Corel Centre/Scotiabank Place. Get your tickets.
6. Don’t forget to check this site daily – www.northeasthockey.blogspot.com.

Upcoming Games
Tuesday, 7:00 @ NY Rangers

1 comment:

hockeydan said...

I hate the Leafs as much as anybody, but the Leafs are not the issue here. Who cares about the Leafs? Carolina and winning the Conference is what is important. Our poor play as of late is the issue. I don't want to go into the playoffs without the confidence that we had a month ago.

Besides, despite the unlikelihood of the meeting, wouldn't it be more fun to knock them out of the playoffs than just keeping them out of the playoffs.