Haven’t won anything yet. Let’s enjoy this and get ready for the next one.
The Balance in the Bank:
Final Score: Ottawa wins 3-2 (Ottawa leads series 4-1)
Ottawa Goals: Vermette, Spezza, Alfredsson (GW)
Making Sens: Alfredsson, Spezza, Emery
Lacking Sens: Redden, Corvo, Comrie
It was over when: The Vermette goal took so much momentum from them and shifted it to us as we set forth on another second period explosion.
It was definitely over when: Alfredsson’s wrister through the five hole gave us the two goal edge and we might as well have packed up then and there.
Message in a Molson bottle: Once again, we showed that we can rebound after a bad period. We came out flat and Emery kept us in the game in the first period, just enough so that we can come out flying with 19 shots in the second period and cruise through a courtesy third period. Top line was dominant again and we did just enough backchecking to prevent any kind of sustained scoring pressure from the Devils. The third period might have been our most smothering period in history.
Courtesy Boxscore: http://sports.espn.go.com/nhl/boxscore?gameId=270505011
Grab a Timmy’s double double and listen to what really happened:
Giving up the first goal is no longer the recipe for disaster in our locker room. We have shown an incredible ability to stick to our powerful game plan and in a game like this, it becomes just a matter time before the plan kicks in and we start to chip away. Our style of play promotes team offence and also keeps a keen eye on backchecking and keeping the puck out of our own zone. It was worked well against a fast team and against a defensive team. Let’s see if it can work a couple more times. One thing is for sure, the players have absolutely bought into the plan, something that is absolutely mandatory for success. Just ask Axel Rose.
I don’t want to sound like a Negative Nancy here, but we still have a few defencemen that turn the puck over a lot. Redden and Meszaros continue to show an inability to get the puck out of the zone at crucial times, and Joe Corvo is sometimes trying to do too much behind our own net instead of just finding an outlet or finding the glass. This is all hidden right now because the forwards are playing back, but as the opponents get better each round, so too should our defencemen in clearing the puck. Corvo also should never have left Gomez behind him on the first New Jersey goal.
We are a detail-oriented team. The Vermette goal was a fabrication from the strong boards play by, well, Vermette himself. We did an amazing job at keeping the puck in on the left side, it made its way back around to Preissing, and then there was Vermie to tip in the shot through Brodeur. Couple this with the play behind our own net of guys like Fisher and McAmmond in helping out the defencemen. What the result will be is that we work as an 18-skater unit (down to 15 in the third period, sometimes). This is why Carolina won the Cup last year and never really had a superstar. 18 guys doing their job.
Mike Comrie had a so-so game but once again found himself on the bench for the third period. Dean McAmmond jumps up in his spot and we roll three lines while protecting the lead. I wish Comrie would just show better backchecking in the first two periods and then Murray would let him play in the third. He’s good enough to do it, he just hasn’t been around on our team long enough to understand why Spezza used to get benched, I guess. Let’s hope he figures it out because he’s far more valuable on the ice then he is taking McAmmond’s spot on the bench with the fourth unit.
Keys to the next game
- Hope the Rangers force a seventh game
- Work on playoff beards. Mine is a disgusting collection of fur that itches me to the core. I love it.
Ups and Downs: Week 16
15 hours ago