This is like a bad dream that you can't wake yourself up from. Ottawa rolled into Atlanta on a four-game losing streak, including three straight to Southeast Division opponents. Wait, correction, it is now a five-game losing streak, including four straight to Southeast Division opponents. The lowly Thrashers have joined the lowly Hurricanes and the lowly Panthers to embarass the Sens.
It is heartbreaking and infuriating to see Pascal Leclaire struggle like this. Heartbreaking because I really wanted him to be the go-to guy. He came in with a similar story to Gerber - one great year and a big contract. Favouring Pascal, though, was that he had youth on his side. Another advantage is that Snoopy came in with a swagger that we hadn't seen since Hasek. Whereas Gerber was shy and unprepared for the heat of a Canadian market, Pascal came in ready to shoulder the expectations of a desperate fanbase.
But what has happened, it seems, is that Pascal has hit a roadbump. Time will tell if this is a mini-slump or a gross miscalculation by Murray and his staff. I am not ready to jump to conclusions here because Pascal has most definitely shown signs of brilliance in his limited time in our nets. What is troubling, though, is that it sure would be nice to look to our cocky goalie to bail us out of some rough patches in the face of adversity.
What is infuriating is that he can't do it right now. Why does he get himself so far out of position when moving across the crease? Why has he all of a sudden started to kick rebounds out into the slot instead of into the corners like he was earlier? Why has his performance dropped to the point that he's been pulled three times in the past few weeks since returning from surgery?
There is no time to sulk in our sorrows right now. We head to MSG to take on the Rags and then to Montreal to play the Habs. As we sit in 7th place, the Rangers are in 6th and the Habs are in 8th. I believe the importance of these next two games is pretty much implied at this point. 5 straight losses and the next two games against our direct competition on the bubble. If that doesn't make you cringe, we have the Bruins twice next week, and then have the Pens and Devils the week after that. Alfie might be back for that first Bruins game next Monday, but let's not expect one player, even if he is a God to us, to come in and all of a sudden turn 6-1 losses into instant wins.
Game 33 preview: Ottawa Senators @ les Canadiens de Montréal
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