The nights got a little darker Wednesday for the Ottawa Senators and their fans, after a wildly entertaining match with the Buffalo Sabres all the Sens have to show for their efforts, is the realization that they are now in a very, very deep hole.
Ottawa battled back to send game three into an overtime, sensing a momentum switch that would bode well for their return to the playoff series they found themselves trailing in, but in a flick of a J. P. Dumont wrist it was all for naught. Dumont’s marker at 5:05 of the first overtime gave the Sabres a 3-2 victory and 3 game to none stranglehold on their series with Ottawa.
It has to be a most frustrating feeling for Ottawa, which played a spirited game for most of the 65 plus minutes of Wednesday’s game. Once again it was Ryan Miller who closed the door to the Senator attack. Alfredsson, Spezza, Heatley, Phillips, Chara all were denied by Miller, who stoned them time and time again.
The Sabres feeding off their goaltender returned the favour in the Ottawa end of the rink, taking the play deep into the Sens zone, only to find that Ray Emery likewise was up to the challenge. A terrific game by Emery cruhsed by Dumont’s winning goal, an unfortunate knckleballer that took a crazy dip and eluded the Sens goaltender.
Ugly goals are the legacy of playoff hockey and the Sabres will take what they got, regardless of the artistic impression points. The Senators for the most part played a very controlled game, they did not make near as many mental errors in game three as those that have haunted them in games 1 and 2. Their big scorers had more than enough shots on the net, they just couldn’t solve Miller.
The Sabres seem to have a collective soul in this playoff year, on any given night you can just pick a player off the bench and he’s going to be the hero of the night. Wednesday the hero was named Dumont. His goal sent the HSBC Centre into pandemonium and probably has sent the Sens looking for prescriptions of lithium.
The Sens must look at things one game at a time, one win keeps them alive, one more loss and the inquisition will begin, about a team that had so much promise and now stands on the verge of elimination.
Redemption is not out of reach, clawing their way back from a 3-0 deficit will take a huge amount of work both physically and mentally, Thursday night the Sens can begin that process and show that this is not the Ottawa Senators that have disappointed along this road before.
Lose and your gone, Win and you live to fight another day. There is but one obstacle in their way a Buffalo team with a dagger, not a Sabre to their throats, Game four promises to bring us much of the same from the first three games, the Sens are only hoping that they can change the final outcome and help the Sabres fans put their brooms back in the closet!