Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Senators still can’t find solutions

Tuesday night was Martin Gerber’s turn to try and seize the lead in goaltending duties for the Ottawa Senators; however, as has been the case for a little too long now, by the end of Tuesday’s Montreal/Ottawa match, it was once again set to be back to you Mr. Emery.

John Paddock has taken lately to playing his goaltenders with the proviso that if they win they will get to remain in the nets, judging by the Sens recent success one has to assume that the Sens goaltenders aren’t all that interested in playing nets anymore.

Montreal once again jumped off to a quick start, much like their game on Sunday with the Rangers before anyone knew it they were firmly in control and had put a dent in Gerber’s Goals Against Average, taking a 4-1 lead into the third period.

Things started off rather well for the Sens, who scored the games first goal on a stolen puck deep in the Montreal end of the rink, a promising start that soon would be forgotten as Montreal put four unanswered goals behind Martin Gerber.

History appeared to be on the verge of repeating itself as the Senators like the Rangers of Sunday launched an impressive comeback bid, picking up two quick goals in the third to bring them within one goal of a tie.

With a frantic last few minutes of play, the Habs held their ground and secured the 4-3 victory and two more valuable points, climbing to within one now of Ottawa.

While John Paddock saw some positive developments from his team in the third, it was still another loss in what has been a month and more of losing now, a team that once was far off the radar for many Eastern Division teams now is part of the pack, hanging on desperately for their first place status and losing a bit more of a grip on it with every game.

As has been the case in past years, once again Goaltending seems to be the Achilles heel, though by no means should Gerber and Emery shoulder all of the blame. Defensively there have been far too many gaps in the Senators play of late, simple plays turn into scoring opportunities for the competition, many times turning into goals.

Offensively injuries have taken their toll on the Sens output, but those that are still on the healthy list have not bee stepping up their game to keep the Sens competitive for their lofty spot in the standings.

For the Canadiens, beating the Sens is yet another measuring stick for the rapidly improving Habitants, they didn’t panic when the Senators took the early lead, and seem to have learned their lesson from last Sunday’s meltdown to the Rangers.

They’ve clawed their way back into relevance in the east, one point behind the Senators ready to continue their climb and setting their sites on the playoffs.

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