Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Sens Lose Fourth Straight

In a shootout to the resilient Islanders.

The Senators could have used a little more emotion this game as the Isles trapped them to death through 2 and a half periods. Chris Neil finally showed something at the end of the second period by getting a roughing penalty in front of the net but otherwise, the Senators were placid at the wrong moments.

It would have been nice to have seen Brian McGrattan in the game instead of Nick Foligno, but it looks more and more like John Paddock has turned into a pacifist and forgotten about Ottawa's toughest player. Because of this, Chris Simon got in three good punches to Chris Neil's head while the Ottawa forward was tied up in a scrum and Brendan Witt roughed up Jason Spezza at the end of overtime.

Ottawa fans can expect way more of this type of tactic against Spezza and Ottawa's other skilled players as McGrattan continues to collect dust.

Ray Emery played a decent game but he still looks skittish out there at times and gave no indication that he's about to overtake Martin Gerber for the lead spot. His weakness on his blocker side remains a problem but he did have flashes of his old self playing out on top of the crease and making a nice pokecheck on a shootout attempt. He'll only get better with more starts but Paddock seems loyal to Gerber so we should expect more of the same for the foreseeable future.

Daniel Alfredsson still looks like he's missing a gear but he got better as the game went on. Randy Robitaille again looked invisible except on a goal that was called back but Antoine Vermette played a heck of a game and looks to be more focused than in previous weeks.

Regardless, the Senators have put enormous pressure on themselves with their fourth straight loss and will have to face a renewed Nashville squad back in Ottawa Thursday night. Meanwhile, the Islanders quietly roll on under the radar of most people in the NHL.

Ted Nolan will be coach of the year. Bet the house on it.

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