While keeping the intriguing Stamkos watch in mind tonight, the Buffalo Sabres make their way back into Scotiabank Place to begin the second half of the 2007/2008 season. Of the Senator's 10 regulation losses this season, seven have been to teams hovering in the bottom third of the league (Nashville 1, Atlanta 1, Buffalo 1, Toronto 1, Washington 3 (!)) along with 2 of their 4 overtime / shootout losses (Tampa 1, Chicago 1). Last Saturday, the second worst team in the league managed to hold them at bay for over 60 minutes. Several games have been outright blowouts, even when the Sens squeaked out a victory (check Emery or Gerber's GAA against these lesser opponents for some truly sorry sights).
Understandably, teams get geared up for a fight against the second highest scoring team in the league, but the Sens have seemed go along by playing down to their level. If you recall the good old days of the mid-to-late nineties when the Sens were fighting for respectability, they'd manage to pull out a big upset win against a Detroit or a Colorado. It was often mentioned at the time how fear of embarrassment can force a team to bring out its best.
We'll see how they do tonight. I had initially called for a 4-0 Senators romp (Spezza, Alfie, Neil, Schubert), assuming Emery would come off his practice scuffle with Grats by making another statement on home ice. By the third period, he was slated to have the crowd chanting "Ray-zor, Ray-zor". Alas, J-Pad has given the Pissed Swiss the nod and foiled my prediction. The mulligan says a 6-5 Sens win (Heatley with two goals in addition to the above). Gerber gets pulled after a five goal meltdown, Emery comes in cold and slams the door.
Addendum: While we're on the subject of that fucking bitch team the Kings, I know what my most favored trade would be to solve "Ottawa's Struggles": swinging a deal to bring Rob Blake east. Who goes the other way? Well, one of the goalies obviously. Paddock should make 'em duke it out for the honors (both on and off the ice).