Add Buffalo to the list of teams that we want to play 82 times (with Toronto)
The Balance in the Bank:
Final Score: Ottawa wins 4-1
Peter Schaefer (3, pp) chipping in a rebound in front of Miller
Dany Heatley (11, pp) with that textbook tap in beside the net from Spezza that we have been missing all year.
Antoine Vermette (8) with a nifty backhander from the slot that made it through.
Chris Phillips (2) with an awesome backhanded deke on a breakaway coming out of the penalty box.
Making Sens: Heatley, Neil, Fisher, Phillips, Volchenkov, Emery
Lacking Sens: hard to pick anyone here
It was over when: Vermette giving us the two goal lead just felt right, didn’t it?
It was definitely over when: The Phillips goal was a beauty to ice it.
Message in a Molson bottle: The way we get “up” for the Buffalo games this year is the way everyone got up for games against us last year. We need to show this kind of intensity and drive every night to be successful. We aren’t going to win games by phoning them in anymore and this will only make us a better team come April and May. Nice effort tonight, hard skating and hard hitting, drawing penalties and getting shots on net.
Courtesy Boxscore: http://scores.espn.go.com/nhl/boxscore?gameId=261118014
Next Game: Monday hosting Minnesota, the fourth straight game against a division leader.
Three storylines to wow your friends over a Timmy’s double double
I’d rather be Fishing
Can I say that the Fisher line looked 150,000% better this game? Not only was Chris Neil up to his usual tricks of working his ass off for 60 minutes, but Mike Fisher finally followed suit and put in a beauty of a performance. Maybe he heard Pierre McGuire say for the 20th time that he thinks Ottawa is a slow team, because Fish was flying down the wings and certainly throwing his body around, leading both teams with 9 bodychecks. It’s his effort in games like this that make us want Fish to be a Senator for life.
Saturday Night RAY
What I like about Ray Emery this year is that he is giving us a chance to win a hockey game. I’m not trying to get into any kind of goalie dispute over Gerber and Muckler and Hasek and all that jazz; I’m just enjoying the fact that it is now up to the skaters to win or lose the game, not the goalie. As a byproduct of Emery’s performance, it will make Martin Gerber hungrier to win when he gets back in there. Hear this: Martin Gerber is a great goalie and he will find his game at some point. In the meantime, there is nothing wrong with having two serviceable goalies. We will use Emery now as the hot hand and at some point, we’ll be using Gerber as the hot hand. Salaries aside, we need to be satisfied in knowing that we’ll always have a second goalie that we can turn to, both now and in the playoffs. As Ricky’s father, Ray, said about the Trailer Park Boys having to go to midnight mass at Sunnyvale, “way it goes, boys.”
Should we make everyone trade bait?
Remember how some of our trade bait this off-season included Emery, Volchenkov, Phillips, and Vermette? Besides the fact that Emery and Vermette are playing well, Chris Phillips and Anton Volchenkov have been playing lights out hockey over the past two weeks. Phillips looks like the leader that he needs to be and is returning to his stellar defensive play that we had become accustomed to. Anton Volchenkov is just phenomenal lately blocking shots all game and hitting anything in range. To be honest, he was disappointing last year and you had to start wondering why a $1.5M defenceman like this was still on our team. He is earning his colours once again with his all around game. Perhaps we should start a rumour that Spezza and Schaefer are up for grabs!
1. Outshot them 41-24 and outhit them 38-27. That should win you the game. These numbers include outshooting them 32-13 over the last two periods. SNAP.
2. How about Heatley with a goal, assist, and 6 hits. Heatley’s best game of the season, by far. When we traded for him, everyone was excited about the “Canadian boy” coming home because he’d play with an edge. Last night was the player we hoped we were getting. Keep it up, Dany Boy.
3. Decent tilt between Peters and McGrattan in the first.
4. Remember when I said Dean McAmmond was a difference maker here? He didn’t do much with his 6 minutes of icetime on the fourth line. He’ll show up again at some point.
5. They blocked 22 shots, we blocked 12. Their forwards blocked 12 shots, our forwards blocked 5. I’d love it if our forwards 1 through 12 blocked shots like Buffalo’s guys. When the Sabres see their captain, Chris Drury lay out and block two shots, it pumps them up. Shot blocking can be as motivating as a good fight or a great forecheck. I’d say we should let Volchenkov lead practice for a day.