Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Sens Game Report - Ottawa @ Buffalo - 11.15.06

Now that was an effort you can hang your helmet on… Down 2-1 in the third and finally fighting back.

The Balance in the Bank:

Final Score: Ottawa wins 4-2
Ottawa Goals:
Neil (4, pp) after some great forechecking from Fisher roofing it over Biron
Spezza (9) tipping in the Meszaros shot to tie the game in the third
Schaefer (2) tipping in the Alfredsson shot to take the lead. What? Take the lead?
Phillips (1, sh, en) banking in an empty net goal killing a penalty in the last minute. Philly deserved a goal in this one.
Making Sens: Fisher, Phillips, Neil
Lacking Sens: Meszaros had trouble early, Heatley still can’t stickhandle
It was over when: The Phillips empty-netter was the first time Ottawa fans could take a breath since the start of the third period.
It was definitely over when: Emery and the defencemen collapsed the net in the dying seconds to maintain the two goal advantage.
Message in a Molson bottle: If this team can put forth the kind of effort that they showed tonight, then I can be proud to cheer for this team (for the record, I’ll cheer for them no matter what). Their intensity and drive picked up every minute of this game, leading to our best third period of the season and our first come from behind win of the year. What is necessary now is to enjoy this win tonight and take the positive message out of it, which is, “play your ass off from the start of the game until the final horn and you can beat the best team in the NHL.” Have fun tonight and get back to work tomorrow.
Courtesy Boxscore: Disregard the blatant mistake in handing out the three stars in this boxscore. How any of these three received a star surely leads one to believe that someone wasn’t watching. I’d have it as 1) Fisher, 2) Phillips, 3) Emery. No Sabres in the top three.
Next Game: Friday in New Jersey, the second of four straight games against division leaders.

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

The Good
- Mike Fisher and Chris Phillips finally showed why they are wearing the ‘A’. Fisher played his most solid game of the season, leading to the Neil goal in the first, drawing a hooking penalty in the second, and blocking shots in the third. Phillips was physical and smart and was rewarded with his first goal. Great game from both, really picking up the pace and leading by example
- Ray Emery was a star tonight. A few huge saves, coupled with a solid 60 minutes, gives us the backstopping we needed. To say we needed this kind of an effort from our ‘goalkeeper’, as Muckler calls it, would be an understatement.

The Bad
- Andrej Meszaros had a rough start to the game by taking a hooking penalty early from being flat-footed and then turning the puck over onto Briere’s stick, which naturally ended up in our net a second or two later. The defence came around during the game, but Meszaros has to be better given the icetime he gets.

The Ugly
- I know he is on the Team1200 every single morning and is a very smart analyst, but I was pretty sick of Pierre McGuire constantly talking about how slow the Ottawa Senators are. The guy praises us all last season and early this year, then starts calling for a blockbuster trade and says every single morning how slow the Sens are. He mentioned it again 6-8 times in this game, including on the Vanek goal. Vanek didn’t score that one because the Sabres are faster (they are, but…), we had two forwards all the way back in the zone that just didn’t know what they were doing. Schaefer made it back and then mysteriously peeled off to the side as Vanek took a rebound and popped it into the open net. Mr. McGuire, don’t say the Senators are a slow team. We’re very, very fast; we just float far too often. Perhaps I’m just sick of listening to the Sabres bandwagon…

- Derek Roy is a diver. I’d rather have Darcy Tucker on my team than Roy, if that tells you how much I dislike Roy.
- Why can’t we score on a 5-on-3? We killed one off and that was a lot of fun, and we netted a pair of powerplay goals, but we have yet to find a group of five that guarantees a goal. If the Spezza to Heatley pass on the doorstep is gone, we need to find Fisher or Neil or whoever in the slot. We need to be scoring on 100% of the two-man advantages.
- I thought we had a frantic and solid second period, but we only had four shots.
- Volchenkov looked terrific and is turning into a nasty Russian version of Jay McKee meets Scott Stevens. Not quite that good, but he hits people like the dickens and he blocks shots like the balls. He also doesn’t look nearly as stupid out there as he and Phillips did in the first week or two of the season.
- Who is responsible for us taking a too many men penalty while on the powerplay?
- Denis Hamel on the first powerplay unit was fun, and well deserved given the sacrifices this guy takes standing in front of the net, both tonight and this past Monday against Montreal.
- Dany Heatley and Jason Spezza refuse to hit anyone. Pacifists…They combined for five giveaways, too.
- Eaves had the quietest ten minutes of the night.
- Wait, what? No shorthanded goals allowed? No powerplay goals allowed? And we scored two on the powerplay? And we scored shorthanded? Who are these guys?

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