New Jersey 3 Ottawa 2
A strong third period. For the second consecutive game, the Sens elevated in the third period. Unfortunately, unlike Wednesday night, by the time they turned it up a notch, the hole they dug themselves was too severe to get out of. But still. It's reassuring to see that that hurdle looks to have been leaped.
Mike Fisher & Chris Neil. It shouldn't come as much of a surprise that these were the lone Sens skaters who brought it for a full 60 minutes. Fisher was skating like the wind, again, and generated a number of the team's prime scoring chances. He was also the only Sen who was able to penetrate the Devils trap they implemented from the midway point of the game on. He rushed the puck down the wing often and good some decent shots away as a result. Neil must have thought it was April because was stirring the pot the way he did in the Tampa series. I'm pretty sure the Devils want to kill him.
Ray Emery. 23 saves with three goals allowed may not blow you out of the water, so on paper it probably seems like Emery was quite ordinary but in fact it was the exact opposite. Emery was even better than he was Wednesday night and was probably the only reason the game was as close as it was after the Sens played so poorly in the second. Emery is providing Ottawa with something they were never getting consistently from Martin Gerber: steady, reliable goaltending with the big saves being made. Emery cannot be faulted on any of the three goals scored.
The second period. Boy oh boy did they disappoint here. This was the 20 minutes where the game was lost. What I think is happening is that this team is so fragile emotionally that when they have a pretty good first period (still not outstanding, but certainly better than the Devils) yet go into the room down a few goals while having hit a post or two, they start feeling both dejected and bad for themselves. Then they come out feeling down and out and the other team takes it to them.
Daniel Alfredsson. He scored Ottawa's second goal but overall, where was the captain last night? It would be kind to say he was not a factor. #11 makes it difficult for us Alfie Apologists with games like this.
The powerplay. 0-2. Back it sucking it seems.
The Devils came out pretty flat in the first, yet a lucky bounce (and a strong finish from Jamie Langenbrunner) as well as an effective powerplay had them up two goals after the first 20 minutes. And while Ottawa scored twice in the third to make things more interesting, the truth was, once they netted a third goal in the second period the end result was never really in doubt. The idea that the Devils would blow a three goal lead in the third period at home seemed pretty unrealistic.
The big surprise was how dominant the Langenbrunner-Zach Parise-Travis Zajac line was. They were responsible for all three of New Jersey's goals and were, far and away, their best players. Zajac looks to be a hell of a player and at 21 should have fans of the team excited.
Brian Gionta, invisible. Way to earn that paycheck.
Right back at it, which I think is a good thing. They can build on the good things from this loss and hopefully *fingers crossed* correct the mistakes. Buffalo didn't play their best two nights ago so you know they'll want some revenge and redemption while, ideally, the Sens want to prove Wednesday night and not the game we saw five hours ago was the real team.