After yesterday's positivity, time to be a little real. The Senators are in tough. They've got a substantial hole to climb from against a team that expert panels were falling over themselves to pick as the Stanley Cup champion before the playoffs even began.
The fact is, the Pittsburgh Penguins are a very very good hockey team. I would argue that there hasn't been another team like them in the cap era, they are oozing all-stars and they have extremely strong supporting players. Sure, the Islanders exposed some weaknesses in the first series, but once they brought Tomas Vokoun in to lock it down, they've looked very strong.
So the Senators are in tough. They've got a mountain to climb. They've exceeded expectations in the face of serious adversity all year, and now they either do it or go home. They aren't going to quit, but they will need a number of things to go right. Here is a sampling.
In games two and three, the Senators penalty kill was excellent. However, when you play with fire don't be surprised when it scores a bunch of goals on you (that is the saying, right?). Now, a number of calls have been questionable, and the Pens will get on the powerplay at some point, but those opportunities need to be very limited to have a chance.
Has been the centre of the Sens peskiness all freakin' year. Craig Anderson played like an animal after he was pulled last time, he'll need to be otherworldly tonight.
They are there. Tomas Vokoun leaves them, nice and juicy. Need to be like Kyle Turris last game and get to those pucks first, because that is where the goals will be.
We need one tonight. While every player needs to have their best game of the season tonight, the fact is the Sens need a hero. Daniel Alfredsson, Erik Karlsson, Jason Spezza or someone of less notoriety, it does not matter. A big performance is needed from someone in addition to Craig Anderson.
This is just a fact. Watching the New York Rangers last night, they don't win that game without some crazy bounces. Need them tonight, so pray to the hockey gods today.
And if this is the last stop, its been a hell of a ride.
Go Sens Go
- In support of Daniel Alfredsson's comments by former player Justin Bourne. [TBS]
- In a season marker by adversity, tonight is the biggest test. [NP]
- Some inspiration for the Senators from a former Canadian Olympian (sorry, slow link day). [CBC]
- A little humour on the subject of Alfie's comments from Chet Sellers. [RBM]
- Varada asks, can we really blame the referees? I say no. They've been bad, but that is not the answer. [WTYKY]
- The Sens aren't going to quit now. Great quotes in this article for all the
effing moronsAlfie haters out there. [SE]
- Another well written article, much in Alfie's defence. [Scanlan]
- Another split prediction panel. [PP]