Sorry for the lack of blogs from me lately (and thanks to Pynch for carrying the load).
This is a huge week for the Sens, not because the playoffs are close or because we're trying to snap a losing streak. It is huge because there are two key divisional games followed by a game in Newark that I'll be attending.
First, we have the Leafs on Monday. For the past five years, this hasn't been much of a contest. Either they are out of playoff contention or we're both out of playoff contention. It is no secret that the Battle of Ontario has become important only to people in...well, Ontario. That being said, I still get excited for these games because I see it as a game that we should just never lose. Toronto, while playing stronger over the past few weeks, should be our doormat. It is a team with one strong forward and so long as we stick our shutdown pair on Kessel, there shouldn't be an issue. Toronto will have line change advantage, but it shouldn't be a major problem for Clouston to get them on the ice, though we'll probably take a too many men minor for good measure. It would be nice to put this one away and get the week off to a nice start.
Buffalo games are always fun, too, as we have one on Wednesday. Buffalo is the division leader and boasts a top flight goalie in Ryan Miller, who should be in nets for the Slugs. I saw the Sabres beat the Rags at MSG on Saturday night (great rink, by the way) and they are skating well. Defensively, they keep you to the outside but they aren't as fast on the blueline and guys like Michalek and Fisher should be able to work their way back in to the front of the net. Beating the Slugs would give us a nice winning streak (assuming we handle the Laffs) and be a good barometer for this point in the season.
Friday night, I'll be risking my safety and health and going to the game in downtown Newark. I've been in NJ for a week and will be here this week for work, so I'm pumped about being able to sneak in a Sens game. The Devils have played us close (they play everyone close) and nothing is a guarantee against the greatest goalie in the world. It should be another interesting test for the squad before coming home to host the Wild on Saturday. 4 games in 6 nights is always a tough test but it doesn't make the wins any less important.
Remember, to be on pace for the magical 94pts in April, I said we'd need to have at least 50 points by the end of 2009. We have 36pts now and 10 more games this month. 7-3 is my math and it is no walk in the park. Winning at least three of the four this week would be a nice touch, eh?
Have a great week!