Despite playing one of the grittiest playoff games in their history, the Senators lost a heartbreaker to the Pittsburgh Penguins in Game 2.
I don't think I've ever seen an Ottawa team play with such a lunchbox mentality and I've certainly never seen Martin Gerber play as good as he did. He was within minutes of stealing a game for the Senators but got beaten on a wraparound by Ryan Malone with just over a minute remaining.
There were moments in the game when it seemed that Gerber was never going to let another goal in and Sidney Crosby was uncharacteristically quiet while Marian Hossa continued his post-season struggles that have haunted him his entire career. At one point he actually had the puck between Gerber and the goal line and still managed to miss. Senators fans are familiar with that act.
Yet the Senators still lose.
Players like Evgeni Malkin (who is so dominant at times that it's hard to comprehend) and Petr Sykora are clearly outplaying Jason Spezza (who seemed to be playing hurt) and Dany Heatley but role players like Shean Donovan and Chris Neil are beginning to step up and outhustle the Penguins third and fourth liners. Even Randy Robitaille who I skewered in a previous post played a tenacious game on the fourth line with Cody Bass.
The Senators are in a huge hole now and their chances of coming back in this series are slim at best, but they showed their fans that they're capable of playing a grinding game and that's almost unheard of for this franchise in 11 straight years of playoffs.
If Martin Gerber can stay in this type of zone, the Penguins will have a fight on their hands in Ottawa for the next two games.