Tonight we spell redemption M-lower case c-upper case A-M-M-O-N-D
The Balance in the Bank:
Final Score: Ottawa wins 5-3 (Anaheim leads series 2-1)
Ottawa Goals: Neil, Fisher, Alfredsson, McAmmond (GW), Volchenkov
Making Sens: Volchenkov, 3rd and 4th lines
Lacking Sens: Redden. Heatley, Emery
It was over when: Getzlaf’s offsetting holding penalty negates a key Ducks penalty and keeps momentum in our favour.
It was definitely over when: Our boys hold the Ducks to 3 shots in the third period and smother them for the final ten minutes until time expires.
Message in a Molson bottle: To play better tonight wouldn’t have been good enough – a win was the only thing that mattered. With the help of our third and fourth lines, we were able to gain back a bit of momentum. The turnaround wasn’t evident until Alfie’s game-tying goal in the second when we came back for a third time, this one giving us enough push to take over the game. The positives here were that we were a bit better in the faceoff circle (still getting killed there), a bit more physical, and created a bit more space on the ice to attack. Still, we have far too many non-players dressed in the jerseys of our highest paid players and all they did was get bailed out by our lowest paid guys.
Courtesy Boxscore: http://scores.espn.go.com/nhl/boxscore?gameId=270602014
Grab a Timmy’s double double and listen to what really happened:
Hey, a win is a win is a win, right? We didn’t get much from Redden or Phillips, Heatley was invisible, Spezza was soft, and even Alfredsson wasn’t terrific. What we did see was some top-flight effort from guys like Chris Neil, Antoinne Vermette, Dean McAmmond, Oleg Saprykin, etc. They say we couldn’t win if we didn’t have our top line clicking – we proved them wrong in a big way, potting five behind their Conn Smythe candidate. It was this four-line effort that we said was one of our strengths coming in. Now let’s get the big boys to follow suit and hit something.
Speaking of our top players, they look lost out there. It isn’t that they aren’t trying, but it just seems like they aren’t willing to fight for pucks like they did before. Spezza and Heatley still look timid, Alfie isn’t driving towards the net for goals like the previous series, and Redden just needs to be taken out back and beaten with a rubber hose. If Chara were still in town, he’d eat Redden for lunch, just to prove a message. But seriously, our top players are just not in this series yet and it is getting to the point where they can either get on the bus or watch it go by. This series hits the halfway point now and there is still no real sign of our four highest paid guys. Ding ding, all aboard.
This was an alley fight. We went down three times by a goal and three times we fought back. This was also the first time we fought back physically and for the first time in nine periods, there is some hatred between these two. The Pronger hit on McAmmond (for which he has just received a one-game suspension) was the icing on the cake of this battle and if you think about it, we play our best when we hate our opponent. Our best regular season and playoff games were against none other than Buffalo, a team that we despise. If we can build up the same kind of hatred towards the Ducks, it definitely neutralizes their physical style and brings the fight into the alley, a place where we know we can be successful.
I don’t want to knock on our penalty killers because they still do a great job, but we don’t have that same kind of swagger we did in the first three series. We are aggressive penalty killers and it actually worked against us on their PP goal this time around as we just didn’t cover the holes on the ice. It is not fair to ask that they score shorties night in and night out, but I don’t think we have such an obvious special teams advantage anymore, even though I am flip flopping on what I said after game one.
Keys to next game
Take this game into the corners
Get first line swagger back
Dump and chase and hit