Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Taking Charge in Tampa Bay

For Ottawa fans Tuesday night brought back that loveable bunch of guys that just seem to dominate the games they want to dominate. From the opening face off the Sens were on a mission Tuesday night, taking charge of play and out skating, out hitting and out scoring the Tampa Bay Lightning on the way to the 8-4 victory. The Sens scored three times on their first eleven shots, which set the pace for the game and kept the Tampa crowd quiet for the most of the night. With the decisive victory they took a 2-1 lead in their best of seven series against the defending Stanley Cup Champs.

With stalwart defenceman Wade Redden back in the fold for the game, the Sens fed off the energy of the night. Redden gained three points on the night a goal and two assists, while Antoine Vermette scored two goals of his own to aid the cause of the Sens. Martin Havlat re-introduced himself to the official scorers, by tallying two key goals as they headed towards the 8-4 victory.

The Sens played a much more physical style of game than the one in game two which saw them collapse in the second period and give a game away to a more determined Tampa squad. Tuesday it was Ottawa showing the determination; they took the corners, crashed the net and cleared their own zone regularly. The fast pace they brought to the game wearing down the Lightning early and left them searching for answers by games end.

The fact that Tampa gained a couple of goals in the third to make it close was more a matter of mental errors from Ottawa over any determined action to launch a come back. Ray Emery had another solid night in the Senator net, facing 35 shots and closing the door on the infrequent attempts by Tampa to apply pressure in the Ottawa end of the rink.

Prior to the game, head coach Bryan Murray had suggested it was time for this team to step up and claim the ice as their own. They took the suggestion to heart and notified Tampa that Game Two was most likely a setback that they won’t be dwelling on too long. It was the kind of offensive explosion Sens fans had long been waiting for and it came at just the right time. Game Four will be key, but should the Sens keep the pace up that they had on Tuesday, Tampa will be in a world of trouble by this time Thursday night.

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