Friday, March 19, 2004

Stanley Cup Preview?

Big games require big efforts and tonight the Sens came up large. The Colorado Avalanche arrived in Ottawa to take on the Senators at the Corel Centre, by the end of the evening Patrick Lalime and the Sens would get a huge confidence boost.

Lalime would record his fourth shut out of the season as the Sens topped the Avs 2-0, clinching a playoff spot in the East. Peter Schaeffer and Wade Redden scored the only goals of the game in the first period, Lalime shutting the door handling only 23 shots, including a hectic 53 second period when the Avs had a two man advantage, but couldnĂ‚’t score. Colorado abandoned goaltender David Aebischer, who faced 33 shots in the loss. Only their fifth road loss in regulation time this year, but the second one in a row. A troubling show of inconsistency for Tony Granato.

For the Sens the big home win in front of a sell out crowd was a sense of redemption for a poor western road swing. Which saw them finish off with an uninspired loss to Minnesota. Losing 3 of the five games,tonight'ss win will go a long way to getting them back on track for the playoffs.

The Sens remain tied with the Maple Leafs at 92 points, but hold a game in hand. Not much changed in the East tonight, the Leafs won, the Bruins lost. The Sens now one point behind the Bruins in third place. A few more efforts such as tonight and the Sens may be looking down on both Boston and Toronto by this time next week.

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