May 19, 2007
15 games of these 2007 Stanley Cup Playoffs have come and gone. With them, great moments, great performances, and what has quickly become a historic run for the modern iteration of the team. The Pittsburgh Penguins, New Jersey Devils, and now the Buffalo Sabres have all been sent home, with the Sens posting an overall record of 12-3.
As he has been this entire postseason run, with 17 points through 15 games, Ottawa’s captain was once again the hero. Daniel Alfredsson scored 9:32 into overtime, earning redemption for last year, and sending the modern Ottawa Senators to their first Stanley Final.
The contest began with the Sabres, on the verge of elimination, looking hungry and determined to send the series back to Ottawa for Game 6. Perhaps the best chance of the period came with Ray Emery sprawling, and Maxim Afinogenov staring at a wide open net, but Anton Volchenkov dove to make a spectacular defensive play, and break up the opportunity.
The Senators responded to open the second frame. They pressed the attack in the offensive zone, and a collective forecheck by all four lines had the Sabres pinned on their side of the red line.
However, 4:30 into the period, Ray Emery made a miscue playing the puck behind the Ottawa goal. Daniel Briere threw the puck out front to Jason Pominville, and it found its way to Jochen Hecht, who beat Emery to open the scoring.
Jason Spezza tried to kick the puck out of harm’s way, but in doing so, put it right on the stick of Hecht.
The Senators would fire back, though, not wanting to let the opportunity at hand slip away for a second straight game. They continued the attack, and as head coach Bryan Murray said in a mid-game interview with Pierre McGuire, tried to maintain more puck possession.
After killing off a questionable Mike Fisher penalty, the Sens were awarded a brief powerplay following some 4on4 hockey. Wade Redden bombed a slap shot from the point, hitting Spezza in front, but #19 made a great play to chip the puck to a wide-open Dany Heatley, who needed only to pop it in the open cage to tie the game.
Great awareness from Spezza there, making up for his mistake on the opening goal.
The big line didn’t stop there. With only 38.3 seconds remaining in period number two, Daniel Alfredsson turned a Heatley chip up the boards into a two-on-one with Spezza. Alfie faked out Ryan Miller, all 20000+ at HSBC Arena, and any NASA satellite that happened to be floating overhead, feeding Spezza for an easy tap-in, and making it 2-1 Ottawa.
Clinic tape. That play was clinic tape.
The third period started as a back and forth affair, but the Sabres seized momentum with a 5on3 opportunity near the midway point. On the man advantage, Chris Drury was hit in the face by a shot, and would need to leave the contest. He would later return wearing a jaw protector. Just incredible toughness.
Not to be deterred, Buffalo kept their foot on the gas. Thomas Vanek centred Briere, who hit the post, but Afinogenov was there to bang the rebound home, and we were tied once again.
Just a really good job by the Sabres of spreading out the Sens’ defenders.
Buffalo almost took the lead on a Drew Stafford wraparound try a few minutes later, but Ray Emery made a fantastic save to keep the game tied.
Antoine Vermette hit the goalpost on a shorthanded opportunity, and the Sens would have to kill off two more penalties, before the game found its way to overtime, tied at 2-2.
Jason Spezza thought he had scored the goal not far into the extra frame, but Ryan Miller made a save so larcenous, that it took Spezza a brief second to realize he hadn’t scored.
Ottawa didn’t have to wait long to get it back, though.
At the 9:32 mark, Alfredsson took a pass from Heatley, and skated into the Buffalo zone against three defenders. He let go a shot that looked innocent, but handcuffed Miller, and sent his teammates pouring off the bench in jubilation.
- Despite the win, the Senators were outshout 29-25. This is in large part due to the fact that they took a whopping seven (!) penalties. Needless to say, this kind of thing can’t become a trend, regardless of who they face in the Final.
- Daniel Alfredsson was once again the best player on the ice, but Jason Spezza had one of his stronger games of the postseason. His turnover on the first goal was ugly, but after that, he was a dominant force in the offensive zone. Spezza is maturing into a key player for the Senators.
- Mike Fisher quietly had another solid game. He took a penalty that was debatable at best, but was tied for the team lead with four hits, and went went 13 for 7 on the draw.
- Ray Emery was SHARP. The Sabres were frantic with some tremendous opportunities, especially after scoring the tying goal in the third, but Razor stood tall to become the first goalie to backstop Ottawa to a Stanley Cup Final.
- The last time the Senators were playing for the Stanley Cup was 80 years ago. They defeated the Boston Bruins in 1927, to win it for the final time.
Most Impressive Senator: Daniel Alfredsson
Least Impressive Senator: Christoph Schubert
Hardest Working Senator: Mike Fisher
Up Next: The Sens sit tight, and await the Western Conference Champs to begin the 2007 Stanley Cup Final!
Alright gang, what’s next?
This poll is closed
2007 SCF vs Anaheim, Game 3
2012 ECQF vs Rangers, Game 4
2004 vs Flyers (Brawl Game)
2010 vs Penguins, Game 5 (Carkner)