Friday, March 17, 2006

Boston 3 Ottawa 2 (SO)

THE GOOD:

Ray Emery. Emery was terrific between the pipes and kept the Sens in a game they probably otherwise didn’t deserve to still be in based on the lethargic effort displayed in the first two periods. It’s clear to see Emery’s playing with a whole lot more confidence as of late, and it’s resulting in tremendous play. You can put me back on the “Ray Emery Is The Future” bandwagon. I’m nothing if not fickle.

Another third period comeback. Alas, it didn’t result in two points, but the fact that Ottawa sacked up, turned their play around, and rallied to score two goals in the third frame says a lot about this team’s tenacity, I think, and it’s something that wasn’t consistently there a few months ago.

Jason Spezza’s goal. The Big Line proved that not only can they produce game winners the way they did Tuesday night, but they can also score the desperate, game on the line ones as well. Spezza’s goal served as the rejuvenation the team needed, as you could literally see how it sparked the entire team from top to bottom. From that point on, every forward line had more jump in their step, and it felt like only a matter of time before they once again lit the lamp to even the score. And had that penalty not come up in OT, I feel very safe in saying they would’ve scored again to get the win. Unfortunately, would’ves and should’ves don’t count.

Sitting Vaclav Varada in favor of Christoph Schubert. Varada just hasn’t been cutting it as of late, and frankly, Schubert provides more of what they expect from V than he’s been providing. Schubert is consistently physical on both the forecheck and in the defensive zone, and isn’t the skating liability that Varada has become. The only edge Varada has over Schubert is probably he isn’t as prone to mistakes, but that’s to be expected when you factor in that Varada has years of NHL experience at forward, while Schubert never played the position at a major level before this season. I’m sure being a healthy scratch didn’t sit well with Varada, who earlier in the season was very vocal in his displeasure about playing a fourth line role, but truthfully, I don’t care, nor should anyone in the organization. Varada’s played himself off the team, as he had to know he had to play better with hungry guys like Schubert nipping at his heels, yet he didn’t. He’s been the architect of his own demise in Ottawa. I really don’t think this was a wake up call from Bryan Murray, but rather just them icing their best line-up. That no longer includes Varada. Once Martin Havlat comes back, Vaclav will be pushed further down the depth chart. It’s possible, should an injury arise, he’ll get back in, and during a Cup run it’s bound to happen, but it’s clear to see he’s fallen out of favor.

THE BAD:

The Senators’ shootout woes. Why the highest scoring team in the league cannot score in the shootout remains a mystery to me. I wish I had an explanation, but I don’t. It mystifies me. I can’t remember the last time a Senator scored in that manner, but I know it’s been a while. For a team who started the season with shootout W’s, it’s certainly a strange twist of fate. I would recommend that Bryan Murray has the team work on it more in practice, but at this point, it’s almost pointless. The season is nearly over, and it’s not as if we’ll have to worry about shootouts in the playoffs (Thank God). The worst thing in the world would be for Ray Emery to pull a groin in practice because the Sens wanted to get better at shootouts.

Ray Emery’s wandering ways It was a shame that Emery, having played so well up to that point, making a number of spectacular, game-saving stops, gave up such a fluky goal that came from him being careless outside of the net.

Mike Fisher going down with an injury. At this point, it’s too early to panic severely, but that did not look good, at all. I don’t mind telling you, I’m very worried folks.

Tyler Arnason. I cut him some slack for his first couple of games in a Senators uniform, but the period of adjustment is up. He needs to start being a factor. Arnason certainly wasn’t last night. He had a couple of good shifts but if he’s going to be their second-line center, middling Ottawa’s secondary scoring unit, a few decent shifts won’t cut it. Start producing any time now Ty, because the team sorta needs it.

The powerplay. It wasn’t simply that the PP failed to score, but rather, that they were even unable to build any momentum for the team, and instead, probably hurt their chances, as Boston’s ability to kill off so many penalties gave them confidence while also deflating Ottawa’s.

The officiating. Was not really a factor in the decision one way or another, but boy was it shitty. I guess Peter Schaefer would’ve had to been murdered for the referees to call it.

Rooting for the Maple Leafs. It hurts my heart.

THE OPPOSITION:

The Bruins employed the right tactics to get the win last night: they played a slow, plodding game with excellent neutral zone coverage and little in the way of chances to ensure Ottawa couldn’t pounce all over them the way they’re capable of. This isn’t to say that they didn’t get scoring opportunities, because they had plenty, but most of them didn’t come from any pressure, but rather Ottawa’s piss poor effort.

Unfortunately, it almost unraveled in the third period. Both of the goals Ottawa scored were a result of someone losing their coverage and a man being open. Sure enough, they paid the price.

Boston has played Ottawa very tough this season, especially when Ottawa travels to Beantown, and in the games they’ve won, it’s usually because their gameplan resembles what we saw last night. It doesn’t make for entertaining hockey, as evident by all the empty seats in the building, but it’s more effective than if they played a more open style. I suspect a reason they played this way was because Ottawa is so dangerous offensively, as when I’ve seen the B’s against other teams, they don’t use the same tactics. They might want to start, although at this point it’s almost too late.

Individually, I liked the games of Brad Boyes, Andrew Alberts, Yan Stastny, Glen Murray and Marty Reasoner, which is good news for fans of the team because most of them are guys will be around (ideally) for years to come.

UP NEXT:

One of the biggest games of the season, against the Buffalo Sabres. I’ll have more later, because I have a lot to say about it, though most of it doesn’t have anything to do with the actual game.

2 Comments:

At 6:45 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I hate, hate, hate, hate the Ottawa Sinners (my pet name) but even I have to concede that they might do well this (only, of course, because my beloved Leafs can't put the Sinners out). I can't believe I'm writing this about my Leafs, but sadly it's true. I do like, however, Danny Heatly and hope only the best for him. And is Martin Havlat as"hot" as a think or am I truly blind?

 
At 11:13 PM, Blogger steve said...

Okay... It is interesting how the shootout causes these win-win, or lose-lose scenarios with the mandatory two points being given out. That Buffalo-Toronto game was definitely a lose-lose. Too bad we can't cheer for ties any more.

 

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