However, the Senators have to be feeling a great deal better about themselves than they did after a 4-0 loss in Game 1. Game two had many positives.
Martin Gerber played the finest game I’ve ever seen a Senator goalie play at playoff time. The Senators finished all checks as a matter of policy, mandatory if you want to have any success at all. Sean Donovan does what he does every spring – turns up his game by about 90 per cent. Adn they were a little better in their own zone.
There was no shortage of negatives, though. You will almost always lose when you allow 54 shots. Jason Spezza and Wade Redden were alternately awful or unnoticeable. Spezza's giveaways are becoming ridiculous. Redden has gone from a player not worth what he's making to not worth dressing. Both made heinous errors last night then lazily looked on like typical spolied rich kids, hoping someone would clean up their mess. Dany Heatley looked like he was in quicksand. The Senators two stars have one point between them. Gene and Sid have 10.
The Sens caught a bad break when Chris Phillips was sent off for a holding call, creating the 5 on 3 that led to the Pens' opening goal. It was not holding in any way. It was a terrible reason to put a team two men down in the playoffs. Martin Lapointe's horribly timed high stick led to the winning goal.
They were still a long way from being the beast that went 15 and 3, en route to an Eastern Conference title last spring. But they were just as far away from the junk performance they put in in game 1. And that is at least something for the team and its fan base to build on for Game 3.
Montreal Gazette writer/coot Red Fisher is making all kinds of friends with the Sens. He wrote in his column Friday that Bryan Murray should have been fined six figures by the league for suggesting the Pens had no interest in beating Philadelphia last Sunday. With that policy, Pat Quinn would be penniless today. He also wrote that the Crosby-Redden skirmish in Game 1 ended "happily" because Ryan Whitney "mopped the ice" with Redden.
The Sens have called up centre Alexander Nikulin from Binghamton. He had 51 points in 71 games this year. He'll be placed on a line once Bryan Murray has drawn all the names from a hat. Things got pretty random and a little desperate last night with Vermette Stillman and Heatley on the top line, followed by Foligno Spezza and Lapointe.
As I said before Game 2, I still say Sean Donovan has earned a spot on the top line with Heatley and Spezza. Now if we could get Heatley and Spezza to earn their first line minutes. Not to alarm you, Mr. Melnyk, but you are aware you have to pay Heatzza 90 million over the next 5 years? NINETY milion. Guaranteed money. 18 mill next season alone.
Ryan Malone deserves credit for being on the ice to score the winning and empty net goals. His helmet struck the ice violently twice in the game after collisions with Mike Commodore and Anton Volchenkov. He HAD to have at least a mild concussion when he won it.
Hockey Night in Canada can probably cool it with their man crush on Gary Roberts. We get it. He's a great playoff performer. I have even more respect for the guy that he's still doing it as his age and with HNIC yakkers taking turns dry humping his leg.
Funny the amount of complaints about the Sens' lack of passion, enthusiasm or energy lately. Unfortunately, fans aren't bringing it either. And I'm not talking about the lack of noise during game action. Game 3 is not a sell out. Empty seats don't inspire the home side. When friends tell me Ottawa will not support a winner, I tell them they're wrong. I don't know. Maybe they're not.