Friday, October 27, 2006

Sens Game Report - Toronto @ Ottawa - 10.26.06

Raise your hand if you didn't score tonight...

The Balance in the Bank:

Final Score: We’re good, Ottawa wins 7-2
Ottawa Goals:
- Fisher (2) from his knees banging in a rebound
- Vermette (4) floating a wrist shot on from the left side that finds its way in
- Heatley (4) on the first of two great feeds from his boyfriend
- Corvo (2), zinggggg, blasts one in from 20 feet out
- Heatley (5) with another great feed from Spezza
- Heatley (6) continues kills the Leafs banging on in from the slot after fishing out the rebound in his skates
- Spezza (4) with a naughty little move on Raycroft fires on in from an impossible angle.
Making Sens: Spezza, Heatleym Fisher, Neil, Corvo, Phillips, Volchenkov, Eaves
Lacking Sens: Alfredsson, Redden
It was over when: Heatley giving us a 3-0 lead really was a backbreaker for the blue and white.
It was definitely over when: Toronto got two back and made it close, but Corvo’s blast spelled the end of this one and the rest was just a race to the stick rack.
Message in a Molson bottle: Any of you that questioned the character of this team, shame on you. This team has put up 21 goals in its last three games and dominated in every facet. Tonight was no exception as the Leafs big guns were invisible and ours were scoring hat tricks. Great showing and it restores our place as owners of the Leafs. Toronto has far more problems then their first 6 games would have you believe.
Courtesy Boxscore:
Next Game: Saturday in Boston, and we’ve been asked to bring takeout from Baton Rouge.

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

The Good
- As modest as I’m not, I’ve gotta toot my own horn here for a minute. One week ago in this very space, I told you that Joe Corvo would be a major difference maker for this team and would be a favourite in no time. His 5-point performance should have won the hearts of every single Sens fan. He plays hard every shift and has a hell of a shot. This guy is going to be THE biggest impact player on our blue line this year. Write that down.
- Spezza and Heatley didn’t play fair tonight. It is hard to tell if they backchecked at all because the puck was never in the Ottawa zone when they were on the ice. Chemistry class is back in session here, folks. Watch out.

The Bad
- Powerplay was 1-for-8. While it is hard to call anybody out in a win like this, I was very disappointed with the performance during the 1:20 or so of 5-on-3 time we had. I’m of the belief that a team like Ottawa should be scoring at 100% when they have at least a minute of a two man advantage. Instead, we lollygagged in our own zone and before you knew it, we needed Emery’s pads and Phillips backcheck to break up a Kaberle chance out of the box. Just score on these opportunities, guys.

The Ugly
- Are you ready to have your mind blown? In the 13 goals we’ve put up against Toronto in the past 72 hours, Daniel Alfredsson has zero points. It isn’t a that hard to believe if you watched his presence tonight. He was often skating away from the play and floating in the neutral zone, in my opinion, and really sat back and enjoyed the scene. Now if Alfie is the type that will carry the team on his back in a one-goal game and then lets everyone else have the fun in a blowout, that’s one thing. But given the start this team had and the fact that Alfie has one empty net goal to his name this season, I reckon it is time this guy started to pop a few in there


- Fans eat pizza twice in a week.
- Gratts and Kaiger didn’t see the ice until the third period. Somewhere, Jacques Martin groaned at the three-line operation.
- McGrattan, Volchenkov, and Neil all blocked slapshots from the point in the dying minutes of a 7-2 game. That’s awesome. Believe this – we are becoming the blue collar team that our management promised.
- Corvo leads the team with 8 shots on goal. Outstanding. This guy is fantastic.
- Speaking of total domination, Spezza wins 18 of his 20 faceoffs, and we hold specialist Michael Peca to to 45% in the circle.
- Nothing came of the Tucker/Belak/Neil/McGrattan hype, as expected. Maurice must have told them something in the second intermission about how ridiculous they’d look trying to fight after the embarrassing performance they were putting out.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Sens Game Report - Ottawa @ Toronto - 10.24.06

If we win on Thursday, that's called a winning streak. It has happened before.

The Balance in the Bank:

Final Score: Ottawa wins 6-2
Ottawa Goals:
- Fisher (1) flying in on a two-on-one with Preissing moves it to his backhand and in around Raycroft.
- Meszaros (1) with a shot from the point
- Eaves (2, pp) on a great 360 move from one knee in front of the net
- Vermette (3, pp) on an amazing pass from Fisher to the front of the net
- Heatley (3) cashing in on Spezza’s work behind the net
- Chris Neil (2) icing it by tipping in a Meszaros wrist shot
Making Sens: Spezza, Heatley, Meszaros, Neil, Fisher, Redden
Lacking Sens: Schubert had trouble moving back to the blue line after Volchenkov left the game.
It was over when: Heatley’s goal did them in. Best forechecking shift of the season.
It was definitely over when: Neil’s goal was the ultimate momentum shift after Toronto came out hard in the third with a goal and then a disallowed goal.
Message in a Molson bottle: For some reason, this game at times seemed closer than the score. We put up the five-spot and then seemed to let them change the style of the game to a more physical tone and we were back on our feet a bit more. But solid puck movement and constant pressure kept this one to what should be called a blowout.
Courtesy Boxscore:
Next Game: Thursday hosting Toronto to close out the home-and-home.

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

The Good
- Our penalty killing is our best asset right now. It was there for us when the powerplay was struggling and it is there for us now that we’re starting to click. Bounces went our way tonight and that was part luck and part hard work. Let’s keep up the hard work on this and we’ll continue to get at least half the bounces, right?
- Redden and Meszaros read NxNE! The two combine for 3 points and a plus-6. Great work from the two behind the circles for us tonight.
- Who doesn’t love Chris Neil right now? The guy has been our best player this week and is a great all-around player right now considering the different roles he can play for us.
- Powerplay at 2-for-5 (the last one lasted 12 seconds in the third) seems to have found some mojo.

The Bad
- Chris Kelly’s has hands of stone. I love the kid on the PK and the fourth line, but he is very far out of place with Alfie and McAmmond. Alfie makes some guys better players, but I don’t know if Kelly could score a point between Mario and Wayne. That’s fine, just keep him at a low salary and plugging away on the fourth.

The Ugly
- Toronto’s second goal almost drove me to the bottle, which is exactly where I was in 2004 when Lalime let in the same goal. Twice. To Toronto. Gerber was good tonight, but not great. He leaves some rebounds and is still working on covering pucks, but he was good enough tonight.

- Like I said earlier, Heatley’s goal came on the best forechecking shift any Ottawa line has had all season. The puck never had a shot of leaving the Toronto end without the help of McCreary picking it out from behind Raycroft (Aubin played the third).
- Sad moment on the TSN Leafs coverage when Harry Neale said, and I quote, “Mike Fisher and Darcy Tucker are cut from the same cloth.” Except one piece of that cloth is in mint condition and sewn into fine garments while the other piece of fabric has been doused in urine and ketchup and is lying in a gutter near the Humber. That was the second half of Harry’s comments, I would hope. I’ll take Fisher playing in one of those metallic uniforms from Medieval Times before I take Tucker. The guy is a disgrace, once again proven when he runs over Patrick Eaves, forces him into a fight, and then tries to call him a turtle. For those that didn’t catch this game, McGrattan and Belak had a go at it earlier and Gratts pointed out to Belak in the penalty box that he seemed to cover up early. Long story short, Darcy is an idiot.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Sens Game Report - New Jersey @ Ottawa - 10.21.06

If we win Tuesday in Toronto, that would be two in a row…
I also want to give a shout out to co-blogger Matthew for amazingly predicting the immediate firing of Hitchcock mere hours before it became a reality. We all knew there was unrest in Philly, but nobody came out and said it would happen so soon. Street cred for NxNE!

The Balance in the Bank:

Final Score: Ottawa wins 8-1
Ottawa Goals:
- Spezza (3) on the powerplay with a zinger over Brodeur’s glove
- Heatley (2) tipping a Preissing wrist shot through the five-hole
- Vermette (1) banging in a rebound and getting nailed on the play
- Corvo (1) receiving and releasing an Alfredsson pass into the slot
- Preissing( 1) on a squirrelly wrist shot coming down the boards
- Vermette (2) tipping a Volchenkov point shot
- McAmmond (2) hitting rebound off a defender’s skate and in
- McAmmond (3) knocking a bouncing rebound over Clemenson
Making Sens: DMac, Corvo, Vermette, Neil, Spezza, mostly everyone
Lacking Sens: hard to call anyone out after a win like this
It was over when: Vermette and Corvo scored 50 seconds apart to put this away and the rest was just padding on the stats and a confidence boost.
It was definitely over when: Brodeur was pulled after the sixth goal. That typically means things aren't going well for the Devils.
Message in a Molson bottle: We converted on the first powerplay, didn’t give up a shorthanded goal, skated hard and won the battles for loose pucks. This one brought back the memories of last year when we made opponents pay for every misake.
Courtesy Boxscore:
Next Game: Tuesday starts a home and home in Toronto (we host them on Thursday)

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

The Good
- Dean McAmmond and Daniel Alfredsson looked awesome together. DMac’s speed and Alfie’s vision will work very well together. I think Kelly being on that line is a bit of a wasted opportunity, but Alfie and DMac can be great producers on that line. Can Kaigorodov play the wing? That would be an interesting experiment.
- Chris Neil deservedly was awarded the first star. As the New Jersey announcers kept pointing out with amazement, Neil has really redefined his career while at the same time remembering what got him here. He makes the right plays and still manages to be a pest. A good contract there. More on this night later.
- Two goals straight off defencemen’s sticks and another two were deflected on the way. Good things happen when you get shots through from the point as it resulted in four of the goals.

The Bad
- Nothing really to point out here. Fisher had a bad turnover in the neutral zone that led to the Gionta goal, but the whole team regrouped after that. Pass from Meszaros was in his skates and Gionta's shot was unstoppable. It still gave a quick reminder about the importance of moving the puck through the neutral zone.

The Ugly
- Meszaros and Redden still managed to be a minus-1 tonight. That blows my mind. With the way Corvo has fit in and played in his two games, expect to see a lot more of him and the defensive minutes being spread out.

- Kaigorodov centering the fourth line went a whopping 1-7 in the faceoff circle. I know he is better at centre, but I wonder what he’d look like on the left wing of McAmmond and Alfredsson.
- Chris Neil had 11 hits, seven more than Fisher’s four (our second biggest hitter last night).
- Neil also led the team with 6 shots on goal.
- A telling sign that the defence is different in Ottawa this year is that Joe Corvo led the team in icetime with 22:23.
- This is a start in the right direction as the team is rewarded for playing hard. Hopefully this feeling will stay with them and they’ll understand that if they do what they’re supposed to do, they win games and people eat pizza.