That’s what happens when you take your boot off their throat.
The Balance in the Bank:
Final Score: Anaheim wins 3-2 (Anaheim leads series 3-1)
Ottawa Goals: Alfredsson, Heatley
Making Sens: Volchenkov, Phillips, Fisher
Lacking Sens: Redden. Heatley, Meszaros, more
It was over when: The first few minutes of the second period. It was clear our edge was gone and we handed them the keys to take back the game. They did.
It was definitely over when: McDonald’s second goal (in one minute) gave them the lead, silenced the crowd, and forced our boys back into their timid style they’ve played all series.
Message in a Molson bottle: It pains me to no end that we can come out flying in the first period, take the lead, and then just walk away for the final 40 minutes. Sure, we had some pressure and a game-tying goal late in the second period, but we are a scared team. Our top players are terribly intimidated by their team, and it rubs off on the rest of the boys. We’ve become so hands-off (with notable exceptions like Fisher) and basically wear our fear on our sleeves. The result, against a dominant team like Anaheim, is this shitestorm we allowed over the final two periods, and our first elimination game of the playoffs.
Grab a Timmy’s double double and listen to what really happened:
Mike Fisher’s status as an underrated player in the league is over – everyone notices him now. He has been the absolute heart and soul of Ottawa over the course of the fourth round, partly because he plays such an inspired game and partly because our old stars are out of their element this round. Mike Fisher represents everything you need to be a champion – skill, speed, tenacity, and a city’s worth of heart. How his teammates can watch a shift of his and then not respond the same way is frightening. The most painful thing about this 3-1 deficit right now is that Mike Fisher deserves better and nobody is helping bring that fate.
I don’t care who scored our goals tonight, our top players are soft. We don’t have a top line crusher, like a Rod Brind’Amour, and we don’t have a game-changing blue liner like a Scott Stevens. In this particular series at this particular time, it is unraveling our team in front of the world. We were one of the most physical teams in the Eastern Conference. Apparently, the Western Conference is far tougher because besides just a few guys, our entire team looks terrified and rattled each and every shift. Dany Heatley was supposed to be the North American difference maker, the anti-Hossa, but you can’t really tell a difference right now, can you? Even Alfredsson and his ass-first hits on the dump-in are gone. Why do we choose to stick-check the hell out of everything instead of using our body? Why, when approaching an oncoming winger, do we take an angle alongside the guy so we can poke it away instead of taking the angle to knock his head off? We look physically pathetic and it isn’t because we’re smaller, its because we don’t want to play that style. Guess what, boys, it’s too late. Anaheim wrote the prologue at home in the first two games and you have NOT answered the bell. Frigging stick-checking everything.
Have I talked about Mike Fisher yet? Other than that, I can’t take a positive out of this game yet. Perhaps emotions are still boiling over at having crapped the bed in a game where they missed their top player and their lower-tiered defencemen looked completely awful. Perhaps we really did play that timidly over the last 40 minutes that there is nothing to be happy about. Hey, did Heatley get his first point of the series? Great. We lost. What have you done for me lately, Eddie?
I don’t want to sound like a Debbie Downer here, but it is going to take all of our might as fans to analyze how we can come back in this series. Even last year when we were down 3-0 to Buffalo, we could conceivably put a plan together to win the series. Down 3-1 now, I really don’t think we’re a couple of line changes from winning. While all three losses have been in one-goal games, they’ve been in games where we just rolled over and played dead. For God’s Sake, the biggest game in franchise history and Wade Redden plays like a total pansy. How the balls are we going to regroup and beat these guys three times when Redden is our man and some buffoon named Meszaros skates beside him? Don’t get me wrong, I’ll try and figure out a way of how we’ll come back and win this on the road in seven, but the way we’ve played through four games, we’re somewhat lucky we got a fifth game out of it, in my opinion. Am I overreacting to the loss? Speak to me.
Keys to next game
Hit their heads off, for crying out loud
Traffic in front of Giguere
Leave it on the ice and have no less than a dozen cuts and bruises. You don’t know when you’ll be back here.