The Ottawa Senators returned to action on Wednesday night led by their very own golden boy Daniel Alfredsson, as they dominated the Pittsburgh Penguins for the first two periods of play. However, a third period lapse surely will be giving Bryan Murray and John Muckler some concerns as the stretch drive in the NHL heats up.
The good news for Murray and Muckler, Dany Heatley and Daniel Alfredsson have found the net again, both picked up their 35th goals of the season on Wednesday night, as the Sens controlled most of the play for the first forty minutes. Peter Schaeffer and Brian Pothier also collected goals for the Sens, giving goaltender Ray Emery a four goal cushion going into the third period. The scoresheet was all Sens after the forty minute mark, a situation that should have put this one away early.
But in the third period, the Sens would allow the Pens back into the game, as Pittsburgh scored three goals rapidly to make what should have been an easy two points a much harder to achieve victory. The Sens eventually would regroup and secure the 4-3 win, but left a few questions out their with their third period collapse.
The most pressing item for John Muckler is what direction to go at the trading deadline, does he pick up a forward to help pick up the scoring slack of late from his previously explosive offence, or does he head to the goatlender table and find someone to share the load with Emery while Domenic Hasek tries to heal in time for the playoffs. The Hasek question is the wild card at the moment, will he return in game ship from his groin injuries or will this be another buffalo scenario where Hasek suddenly found himself unavailable for playoff duty.
Muckler has seven days to figure it all out, the third period on Wednesday certainly gave him quite a bit to think about as the deadline approaches!