Thursday, April 01, 2004

Sens jump to fourth, knock Leafs down a notch

The Senators grabbed their 100th point of the season Wednesday night with a comeback win over the Florida Panthers. Ottawa who had taken a 3-1 lead early, surrendered three goals through the second to let the Panthers take the lead briefly before Marian Hossa tied the game in the later stages of the second. While Martin Havlat picked things up in the third scoring about six minutes in to give the Sens the lead and the eventual win pushing them ahead of the Leafs and into fourth place in the East.

Martin Prusek, who had started in his second straight game in the Sens net, suffered a horrid game, giving up 3 goals on 18 shots before Jacques Martin replaced him in the second period. Ray Emery took over the workload for the night, giving up one goal on 17 shots. It was Prusek’s second shaky appearance in the nets in relief of the injured Patrick Lalime. The status of Lalime’s wonky knee not known, but Sens officials insist he’ll be ready by playoff time which will be reassuring to Sens fans, getting a little nervous over the display of Prusek’s nerves.

For Roberto Luongo, Wednesday was a personal record night. Luongo set the NHL record for most shots faced in a season, tonight’s shots brought his season total to 2,443 which beats Felix Potvin’s 2,438 set in the Maple Leafs net back in 1996-97.

The Sens move to within one point of Boston in the North East Division and have two games remaining to try and capture third overall in the Eastern Division. However, the Bruins have one game in hand and should be able to fend off the attack. The Sens have two important dates to come, the much anticipated rematch on Friday night with the Flyers and then they are home on Saturday to the Maple Leafs, two games which if nothing else will get their adrenaline moving at a pretty fast pace. The Leafs match up with Buffalo before traveling to Ottawa on Saturday night.

Home ice advantage is within their grasp now, wins over both Philly and Toronto would guarantee the edge come playoff time. The friendly confines of the Corel Centre await them; all that’s left is the word on who will be coming to town. And that is something that probably won’t be known for sure until Sunday night.

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