(in the regular season anyway)
P1 and P2 square off tonight at Scotiabank (CBC, Coast to Coast). Let's go straight to the tale of the tape (practice lines via TSN ice chips and LetsGoWings):
OTT PP vs. DET PK
13th at home vs. 5th on the road
OTT PK vs. DET PP
17th at home vs. 4th on the road
Advantage: DET no question. Let's hope the refs just let them play tonight.
OTT Sc1 vs. DET Chk:
Heatley/Spezza/Alfredsson (avg 54 pts) vs. Cleary/Draper/Maltby (avg +8)
Advantage: OTT, although the setup reads too much like Moen - Pahlsson - Niedermeyer for my tastes. If Alfredsson drops down to Sc2, they may go with McAmmond or Neil on the right wing.
OTT Chk vs. DET Sc1:
Vermette/Kelly/Donovan (avg +4) vs. Datsyuk/Zetterberg/Holmstrom (avg 47 pts)
Advantage: DET, however, if Zetterberg is a game time decision or not 100% (flu) I could give this to OTT.
OTT Depth vs. DET Depth:
Robitaille/Fisher/Neil (avg 19 pts) vs. Hudler/Filppula/Samuelsson (avg 26 pts)
Schubert/McAmmond/Bass (avg 10 pts) vs. Drake/Kopecky/Downey (avg 4 pts)
Advantage: Close, but if Alfredsson drops to the second line with Fisher I like OTT.
Phillips/Volchenkov (avg 9 pts, +9) vs. Lidstrom/Rafalski (avg 39 pts, +24)
Redden/Corvo (avg 23 pts, +15) vs. Kronvall/Lilja (avg 16 pts, +10)
Richardson/Meszaros (avg 12 pts, +4) vs. Lebda/Chelios (avg 9 pts, +8)
Emery (2.85, 0.891) vs. Hasek (2.11, 0.900)
Advantage: Emery! He showed up his mentor last time he played him (43 saves in a turning point in the 2006-2007 season) and will be looking to rise to coach and teammate challenges to improve his game down the stretch.
More comments and observations from bloggers on both sides here at AOL Fanhouse.
So even though the Senators are the major paper underdogs here, with an impassioned enough performance in front of the home crowd and John Paddock taking full advantage of the last line change, I still think the Senators can prevail with a 2-1 Shootout victory (Neil, Alfredsson).
Pump up music (dedicated to BoOB leader DC) will have you shakin' at the knees. I want to see tonight's bank crowd resemble those balcony head bangers.