Can't exorcise ALL our demons, I guess.
The Balance in the Bank:
Final Score: Pittsburgh wins 4-3 (series even 1-1)
Ottawa Goals: Spezza, Alfredsson, Kelly
Making Sens: Alfredsson, Spezza, Comrie
Lacking Sens: Heatley, Fisher, Redden
It was over when: Crybaby Crosby sneaks behind Phillips and bangs in the winner
It was definitely over when: We rattle two off the post in the third and can’t get it by the man in the yellow pads
Message in a Molson bottle: Sometimes you can outplay someone and still lose and I think that’s what happened this time. The problem for Ottawa is that it seemed only half the players bought into the game plan and the other half were not pulling their weight. The problem with this loss is that it opens the team up to media scrutiny about Crosby’s success, the missing Roberts trade, our inability to get a 2-0 series lead, and the fact that the Penguins are a real team. We need to put all of this to bed in Game 3 and restore world order.
Courtesy Boxscore: http://scores.espn.go.com/nhl/boxscore?gameId=270414014
Grab a Timmy’s double double and listen to what really happened:
Spezza and Alfredsson were unbelievable for the second straight game. Alfie scored a great PP goal, hit bodies and was great with the puck. Spezza looks like an elite player out there, too. You need your best players to play like your best players, and that’s what we got from these two. If only this would rub off on the rest of the forwards. Joe Corvo was our best puck-mover today, too. He is fast and he’ll take the space that you give him without the dumb plays that he was making mid-season.
Dany Heatley and Mike Fisher were very disappointing today. Heatley was just not himself, didn’t have his timing or his puck control and just lost battles far too often for someone his size. Mike Fisher was just in another world and couldn’t do a single thing right this time around. Both of these players need to pull 180 degree turns quickly and get ready for the next one. Ray Emery was no picnic either and while he can’t be completely faulted for the goals, he needs to make the big save, like the one Fleury made on Fisher in the dying seconds.
Mike Comrie, Chris Phillips, and Anton Volchenkov were our physical leaders. Comrie did an amazing thing in fighting (sort of) Armstrong to open the third, payback for running Emery in the previous period. Comrie switched sides with Schaefer for the faceoff with the sole intention of dropping his gloves and this truly should have been enough to lift us with the momentum to dominate the third. It wasn’t.
What is it going to take for these guys to win two in a row? We had a chance to take a complete stranglehold on the series, but the Redden/Meszaros pairing shite in their shorts and some key forwards could do no right. What the balls is it going to take?! The bright side is that most of the key players here are new and haven’t experienced our past letdowns (Corvo, Comrie, Preissing, McAmmond), but at the same time, they must be amazed at how we can completely negate the entire Wednesday night performance and go to the Burgh to open a best-of-five series on the road. I still think we win this series, but I’m pretty exhausted from the total lack of killer instinct of some of our star players. I want to see Wade Redden play his best game since Game 3 of the first round matchup last year when he took over the TB game. If not, then I’ll run out of expletives in the next report.
Keys to the next game
- Take over the first period, set the tone and hit the shite out of their defencemen on the forecheck
- Defensive positioning must be mistake-free – no pressure, guys.
- Heatley must score a goal
- Oh yeah, powerplays. When we sent the puck to the point for the shot, it didn’t work. When we brought the puck down low between the top three guys, we scored. I’m no mathematician, but those numbers kinda favour one strategy over the one that made our powerplay a league-wide joke coming into the playoffs. Give the puck to your best players, not defencemen that can’t hit the net.