Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Round 1, Game 1: With a small enough sample size, perhaps we can find some positives

Yes, it's true that the Sens have sucked it long and hard in the last 20. The suckiness can also be detected against all other playoff teams. But let's look at those again once the field gets winnowed by 8 teams in a couple of weeks. For now, the focus will be square on the only team we actually need to focus on - the Pittsburgh Penguins.

Let's reset the season series.

1. October 22nd, Game 21: 6-5 Pens (SO)

Crosby and Malkin are held to one point each, while Gerber stops 20 of 25 shots and Fleury gets yanked. Not bad for a loss, considering the Pens had eight powerplays and Sens scored on half of their four opportunities.

2. December 13th, Game 31: 4-1 Sens

Gerber makes 26 saves, including all 9 Sidney Crosby shots. All 3 Pittsburgh penalties are killed off, while Ottawa goes 2 for 3 with the man advantage.

3. February 23rd, Game 62: 4-3 Sens (OT)

This is Paddock's final win as coach, as the Sens stage a massive four goal comeback after getting hosed with 6 straight penalty calls. Crosby is not in the lineup, while Malkin goes pointless.

4. March 1st, Game 66: 5-4 Sens

Murray's second game, he implores the Sens to show some emotion and they respond, driving Sergei Gonchar up the wall and exposing Ty Conklin's glove hand. Again, Sens make good on their powerplay opportunities (2 for 4).

None of the games came in the now irrelevant first 20, but the Sens went 6 for 12 with the man advantage and killed off 19 of 22 [!] Penguins powerplays. High scores and close games as expected, but if the Penguins wanted revenge for "what the Sens did to them" last April, they sure were keeping things bottled up for a highly improbable first round matchup.

Sens 5, Pens 3 (Spezza EN, Stillman, Vermette, Schubert, McAmmond). Duff loads up the eighteen-wheel bandwagon, led by a hot-shot wheelman with the dicey moves. The rest of the fanbase (played by young Sally Field or the basset hound - your pick) reluctantly comes along for the ride, while the boys in blue once again tear around Texarkana hoping to trap the bandit at every turn. We got a long way to go and a short time to get there...

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