Playoffs Game 7: Ottawa Senators @ New York Rangers

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Today's good omen: The following story is 100% true.

As I'm sure was the case with many Senators fans after Monday night's game, I was left rather disappointed. The team didn't have their best effort, the captain was supremely frustrated, the coach was downright fuming about the game, and 20,500 people--myself included--streamed out of the game much less happy than they would have been had the results been reversed. Not all was lost, as the team still had one more shot at moving on (and had already greatly surpassed expectations), but pretty much everyone in the stands brought their A-game hoping to see handshakes after 60 minutes.

With that slight disappointment in mind, I went to bed shortly after I got home. The TV in my bedroom is on my side of the bed, so I typically tune into whatever late game is on, set the sleep timer to turn the set off in a half hour or so, and doze off watching whatever game is on. On Monday night, I jealously watched the Phoenix Coyotes eliminate the Chicago Blackhawks in their six games.

The last thing I remember from that game was seeing the handshakes on the TV, and I think after that moment I dozed off into a deep sleep. In the night, I had one of my recurring dreams: I'm at a childhood birthday party in the Kanata Leisure Centre's wave pool, splashing around with my friends. Over time, my friends--and everyone else--disappears from the pool, and I'm left alone there when suddenly a whirlpool forms and drags me to the bottom of the pool. It's not that I'm drowning; I don't feel myself gasping for breath, I'm simply casually dragged along underwater. A current takes me through a maze of tile-lined waterways when, normally, I come face-to-face with the skeleton of a plesiosaur that says inane meaningless words.

This dream, however, was different. It began the same, but instead of coming face-to-face with the skeleton of a plesiosaur, there before me at the bottom of the wave pool was Daniel Alfredsson himself, in full equipment, and he appeared completely dry. Alfredsson proceeded to discuss the circumstances about his apparent flip-out from Monday evening, in which he terrified Colin Greening by repeatedly smashing his stick against the boards.

"It wasn't frustration. It was necessary. That stick needed to snap in half in order to reveal something to one chosen fan. That chosen fan, Peter, is you."

Alfredsson then directed me to get up, get in my car, and drive to the loading docks at Scotiabank Place. When I arrived, Alfredsson said, I would quickly and easily find what I was looking for.

So I did. I got up, put on some black garments, drove to the 'Bank, and pulled around to the loading dock. When I got there, I looked around, and didn't immediately see anything--but then, noticed what seemed to be some seemingly bioluminescent aura emanating from a the trash compactor just inside the still-open loading dock door.

I sneaked in, narrowly avoiding some of the operations staff still milling about getting things in order, and went into the garbage room where I was amazed to see Alfredsson's Easton Stealth stick, with a crack in the shaft and a busted blade, just sitting right there. I peered over my shoulder, saw the coast was clear, and grabbed it and ducked back outside. I knew then what to do: Apply a bit of pressure, snap the shaft in two, and something would happen.

Something happened.

Alfiesteath_medium

Overture: I hope my recurring dream doesn't reveal anything negative about my mental stability.

The Sens and Rangers have each played 82 regular season and six playoff games for the privilege of the opportunity that's on their plates today. Whether Ottawa's lineup is the same as it was last game--and it sounds like it will be, including Jakob Silfverberg, Matt Carkner, and Zenon Konopka--or there are minor roster changes made doesn't matter. Every mistake the losing team makes tonight will be magnified throughout the entire off-season, and every mistake the winning team makes will be quickly forgotten. Such is the way of the NHL playoffs.

Head-to-head:

Nope. Not tonight. The first six games don't matter; the next sixty minutes of hockey are all that matter right now.

WHOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO

Who else is listening to "For Evermore" by Power Quest for this game?

(Note: This pick is courtesy Dr. Mark Parisi, Ph.D. in Pumpology [as conferred by Pump University]. My picks were going to be one of Omens and Portents I: The Driver [omens! portents!], Rise to Glory [Rise up! Rise!], or The Bees Made Honey in the Lion's Skull [Senators = bees, Rangers = lion], all by Earth, but I deferred to the doctor, and he proffered something that sounds it's from an NES video game.)

(Extra note: Mark here. Friggin' naptime with those picks, am I right? Pumping up is all about emotion, not existential symbolism!)

SPECIAL BONUS PUMP-UP:

Who else is listening to "Fire It Up" by Thousand Foot Krutch for this game?

(Note: The special bonus pump-up song is courtesy of @JP_squared. There were plenty of great nominations on Twitter, but this one won out.)

Stick around. This should be a hell of a game.

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