It was the kind of effort that Ottawa fans had become used to seeing this year, a team ready to battle in the corners, bash on the boards and prepared to take the play to the opposition.
Gone was the tentative play of game one, a seemingly shocked squad that didn’t quite know how to handle the ever pressing presence of the Ducks in the Ottawa end of the rink.
The Senators kept to their plan of attack, even when they would find themselves falling behind, not once, but three times during the game. No panic would settle over Scotiabank Place as each Anaheim goal would be answered shortly after by an Ottawa marker.
Ray Emery while not having one of his stellar games, did make key saves to stem the Duck attack, an unfortunate goal which saw the Sens defence let up on the Duck attack resulted in a goal which started behind the Senators net and surprised Emery on the far post side.
It was about the only mistake made by the Sens goaltender, who was the last man standing in games one and two but could relax a bit on Saturday as the rest of his team mates picked up the tempo and the attack into the Anaheim end of the rink.
It was a hard hitting game, and no hit harder than the high end elbow that Chris Pronger delivered to Dean McCammond, a play which left McCammond woozy on the ice and Pronger unpunished during the game, though NHL justice prevailed on Sunday with the announcement of a game four suspension for Pronger.
We await Brian Burke’s call of unfairness, where he once again work on his degree in Physics by pointing out that size differential, angle of intent and speed all worked against poor Pronger, who of course has never leveled a crushing hit to take a player out of a game before.
The jarring elbow was but an indication of the tempo of this game, which was obvious from the early going. The most intense of players on the ice seemed to involve new papa Chris Neil, who took the play to Anaheim at every opportunity and set the Senators pace with his own goal in the early going.
If Mrs. Neil could arrange to have three more children in the next seven days then Stanley Cup destiny must surely belong to Ottawa. We suspect Mrs. Neil is not in favour of this approach however, so it will be up to the hubby and his team mates to deliver the birth announcements again in game four on Monday night.
Should the Sens pick up where they left off on Saturday this series will take on a whole new look, turning into a best of three showdown with the Ducks suddenly playing the part of the nervous ones, suddenly not sure if their style of play is going to translate in the hoisting of Lord Stanley’s Mug.
We’ve trolled the interwebs for some of the colour of series heading into game four, our results can be found below: