In obvious news, tonight is the biggest game of Brian Elliot's NHL career. After seeing Bobby Lou get pulled last night I got to thinking, 'what if Ells stinks it up tonight? What happens if Clouston is forced to bring in Snoopy? Andrew Raycroft is still in the NHL?' Well, the latter question is unrelated to the Sens, but the first two are critical.
Again, this game is Elliot's biggest of his career. While the Sens are looking slower by the shift, Crosby is taking advantage and taking over. If Elliot can stand big and stop The Kid, we can turn this series around. If Pittsburgh wins, related to Elliot's play or not, we have a monster hill to climb.
Let's break it down quick, as I have work to do...
Worst case scenario - Ells cracks under the pressure, plays awful and forces Clouston to pull him, bringing in Leclaire and offering the media a field day. While I'm not a Snoopy Hater, in fact I was a major supporter throughout the season, we've given the reigns to Elliot and will live and die by him. Bringing in Snoopy will hurt Elliot's confidence and create a 'goaltender controversy', of which we're all very sick of...
Not a good scenario - Ells plays ok but the Sens don't. We drop a close one but open up the series to a 3-1 deficit going back to Pitty. Elliot will likely not take a huge load of the blame but there certainly won't be any more Elliot jerseys sold.
Best case scenario - Ells wins tonight. If he wins, he's going to need to be good and minimize his goals against. Don't expect another 5-4 goal fest. Obviously, a win will go a long way for his confidence and put us right back in this series. Case and point, this is Elliot's biggest game.
So, folks, can he do it? Does Elliot have the mojo to steal a game and put us back into this series? Can he handle the pressure that he must feel?
Most fans have been behind him all year, especially since January, and now's the time to rally more than ever. Send out your good vibes today and let's get excited.
Please note that there are numerous photos being used in this blog from various sources across the Internet. These are not attempts at republishing pictures without consent, but merely a chance to add a face to a name.