Thursday, February 05, 2004

Collapses, on the ice and in the dressing room.

What looked like a runaway win for the Senators, turned into a complete nightmare by the end of the night. The Sens ran off to a 4-0 lead into the second period, indeed when Daniel Alfredsson scored after just thirteen seconds it looked like revenge for last Saturday night, was at hand for Ottawa. With all the hype on this one, you would have thought that tanks and missile's would be part of the arsenal tonight. The much anticipated brawling never really took place tonight, a few scraps but nothing like last Saturday night.

The Sens converted half of their power play opportunities, what should have been seen as an omen of good things to come tonight. But as the second period progressed the Leafs battled back, one goal at a time. The second was the roughest period by far, with a few scraps and lots of hard hits. And that seemed to awaken the Leafs, in the third the Leafs tied things up at the 15 minute point, tying the game on a Mats Sundin goal. Overtime had the Sens on the ropes, as Owen Nolan scored with thirty seconds to go for the 5-4 win.

Never mind the toughness aspect of the Sens, that wasn't the real culprit tonight. A bout of the flu stripped the Sens bench of players and coaches. As the game progressed Sens disappeared to the dressing room to deal with the effects of the flu. Missing from the game tonight were Zdeno Chara, Wade Redden and Jason Spezza, none of whom even made the opening line up. More players fell as the game went on, weakened to finish the game on the ice, or off of it completely.

Regardless they can't use the flu as an excuse, a four goal lead should not be blown. For whatever reason they let the Leafs back into the game and once they got a taste the Leafs wouldn't give up. Not much more the Sens can do about this one that got away, a short bench with sick players is hard to work with. Fortunately it's the all star break now, so the Sens can drink lots of fluid, get some rest and get ready for the playoff run.

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