Sunday, April 18, 2010

Game 3: Pens 4 Sens 2

Not much analysis needed here. You've all watched it as closely as I have and there's no need to break down the minutiae of the game to see a pattern here.

This series is tilting unerringly in favour of the Penguins, despite a spectacular effort by the shorthanded Senators through the first three games. And unfortunately, the end could come sooner than many had hoped.

If it's any consolation to Sens fans, the series is proceeding as predicted by most. When you are facing a Penguins team with two of the top 5 players in the world surrounded by a championship calibre supporting cast, it's not surprising that the Senators are down 2 games to 1.

In short, the Penguins have more skill, more confidence and better goaltending. And they are much, much healthier. But I don't need to tell you that.

It's tantalizing to wonder what might have been. The skills of Milan Michalek, Filip Kuba and Alex Kovalev combined with the uncompromising effort the Senators team as a whole have showed so far could have been enough to surprise these Penguins. The games have been much closer than I originally thought but with key players out, Jason Spezza and Daniel Alfredsson have been neutralized which will ultimately seal the deal here.

More and more, game 1 is looking like an aberration. The Senators won that game simply because the Chris Kelly line had the game of their lives. They've been good since but no one can ask for another game like that. The only other real lights have been Peter Regin and Jarkko Ruutu and that's just not going to be good enough, especially when Brian Elliott is being.... well, Brian Elliott - an average goaltender.

Despite all the doom and gloom, the series is only 2-1 and, as you know, strange things can happen.

Perhaps the novelty of the playoffs is all Senators fans can savour at this point.


Anonymous said...

Not that it would have made much difference .. but there are better choices than Ryan Shannon .. This mancrush Clouston has for the little guy has to stop !!

Anonymous said...

Regin has been getting a lot of praise from the various media outlets and the blogosphere alike. Rightfully so. He's played well on the first line.

But, the way see it, his success is very correlated to the fact that he's playing with Alfie and Spezza. If he was still on the fourth line, he would not likely be having as much success.

My point is that, any criticism that will inevitably be directed at Alfie and Spezz when the series is over, should be mindful of the fact that they helped turn Regin into an offensive threat.

Would Michalek, Kuba, and Kovalev have made a difference? Maybe. But, I'm not convinced that any of them would have been able to stop Crosby from doing what he has done. He's been the difference in my books.

I still think that we can come back and win. But, Elliott will likely have to steal a game.

Going into the playoffs, the Sens had the worst goal differential of all playoff teams, -13. Only the Sens and the Habs were on the negative side of the ledger. Every other team scored more than they let in.

I don't see our offence deciding a game, unless Kelly's line has another heroic night.

It's gotta be the goaltending and the D that surprises and comes up big.

Blood Red Army said...

Far from over.

Ottawa outplayed Pittsburgh for most of the night last night from what I saw, and had a few really tough breaks. Karlsson had a rough outing, and the Pens capitalized on their chances.

Karlsson will have the game of his life tomorrow night, as he often does after a bad night, and Ottawa will be back in this.

Anonymous said...

I think focusing on the game is ok.. The lost opportunity was really game 2 that was well within reach. The other was playing better during the season to draw lesset opponents.

Anonymous said...

we are still very much in this series, on paper, but it all rests with four key guys, in order:
- Elliot has to start playing at a high level, this ham and egg BS he lays is not going to cut it.

- Alfredson's performance is simply a joke. If you can't handle it anymore Alfie you need to get out of the way and retire, plain and simple. Zero SOG in games one & three and only two SOG in game 2. I realize he is likely playing hurt, so we'll give him some slack, but the production just isn't there - just like the old days, we've seen this movie before.

- Spezza's performance and propensity for give-aways is brutal. Find a way Jason, just like your opposition does. Your taking up $7mill in salary, COME-ON man.

- Fisher's got to elevate his game - hit someone Mike if your not going to score or set someone up.

- Sutton, please don't stop hitting the opposition just because of the Leopold hit. The NHL has you at 4 hits but I didn't notice any of them, but i did notice there was a number of opportunities where he could of made a good hit and didnt (Crosby's goal burning Sutton is a case in point).

The series is still in reach but unless the above named players start playing up to their potential, its going to be the same standard round 1 exit in Ottawa that we are all accustomed to seeing.