Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Game Day(s): Three Cheers for Buffalo

Sens at Sabres tonight at 7:00 EST (Sportsnet East, RDS, Team 1200), Sabres at Sens Thursday at 7:30 EST (A Channel, Team 1200)

It's been a strange season. While the settled edition of these 2007-2008 Ottawa Senators haven't given me reason to jump out of my chair in excitement, nor have they given me reason to put my fist through a TV screen. While they look like a finely tuned machine on some nights, they resemble the living dead on others. I can't argue with the fairly popular sentiment that has this team getting turfed in a six game quarter-final, nor can I completely rule out the idea of them hanging around to face Pittsburgh or Montreal in the eastern final. It's an unsettling experience, but holy crap this is what cheering for a .500 hockey club feels like
Why have I not been overly disparaged by the Sens inconsistency? Well, what other team in the east besides maybe the Penguins have looked poised and confident throughout the entire season (with or without injuries to key guys)? Not a lot I'd say. Here's how the Sens record against playoff contenders looks today:

vs. MTL 5-2 (1 GR)
vs. PIT 3-1
vs. CAR 2-2
vs. NJ 2-2
vs. NYR 3-1
vs. PHI 1-3
vs. BOS 4-2 (2 GR)
vs. WSH 0-4
vs. BUF 4-2 (2 GR)
vs. FLA 3-1
vs. TOR 3-4 (1 GR)

The only thing really scary in there (Philly in the playoffs has never been a worry) is the Washington record. The Hab and Penguin powerplays should take them deep, but so long as we don't draw them early on I'm not overly concerned about the 3-6 or 4-5 matchups.

The trudge to the playoffs continues tonight against the desparate Buffalo Sabres. Look for the Sens to build on last night's spirited comeback and the fact that jersey-sporting scarecrow Wade Redden will be unable to start tonight. Sens 2, Buf 0 (Alfie x2) followed by Sens 4, Buf 3 (Heatley, Stillman, Fisher [!], Neil). Sabres exit stage right and it's the Best Day Ever all over again.

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