Wednesday, February 25, 2004

Can't put them away

What is it with the Ottawa Senators and late game leads. For whatever reason, the Sens get a two or three goal lead and then proceed to let the opposition get back into the game. Last night was another example of the Senators give til it hurts program. Leading the Habs into third period 2-1 the Sens managed to turn the puck over to Montreal enough times to end up giving the Canadiens a 4-2 victory.

Up until the third it had been a fairly good performance by the Sens and particularly goaltender Patrick Lalime who appeared to be getting into a groove, no doubt fueled by John Muckler's public declaration of support. But then the third period collapse began, the fifth time this month the Sens have thrown in the towel in the third. Lalime was left on his own as the Sens chose to sit back and let the Habs take the game to them. Costly penalties mental mistakes and bad giveaways sealing their fate and knocking them out of first place for the time being.

Not sure how you instill a killer instinct into a hockey club, but coach Jacques Martin and GM John Muckler have got to find that recipe quickly. Last night's game didn't cost them a playoff spot, but it's habits like this that can come back to haunt you later on. The Sens have blown too many opportunities to put some distance between themselves and the rest of the conference. Not to mention the chance to show other teams that all is lost once they fall behind. Instead, the Sens seem to want to keep the other teams in the game, a trait they had best get rid of should they want to get to the Stanley Cup final.

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