Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Second season starts, same old Sens take to the ice

For those looking for signs of a Senatorial renaissance, Wednesday night proved to be a bit of a disappointment.

In a game which demanded a strong and physical message to be sent, the Sens instead spent the better part of the night chasing after fleet footed Penguins, watching in horror (and we do mean watching) as the Pens jumped to a quick 2-0 lead and never looked back, eventually settling on a 4-0 victory and a one game to non lead in the best of seven quarter final series.

Of particular concern for Bryan Murray was the ease in which the Penguins fourth line manhandled and outscored the Senators. A long time stone in the skate for the Sens, Gary Roberts once again had his way with the Senators defence picking up the first goal of the game just one minute and eight seconds out of the gate, for good measure he would score again later on just to hammer the nail down. It was a signal of much more misery for Ottawa to come.

Far too many mental errors, an inability to take advantage of two gifts of a five-on-three power play and the simple fact that they were outplayed at every position provided for Pittsburgh’s convincing win. Pittsburgh set the temp for this game from the opening face off and continued the beat right up until the final horn. Ottawa were mere spectators to the opening game, never seriously able to say that they were going to be a problem in game one.

While Ottawa had their chances at times, the puck was not inclined to bounce their way, goal posts, just wide shots and some solid goaltending from Marc Andre Fleury all conspired to frustrate the Sens and leave them to seek out the positives of a 4-0 game.

A lot was made leading up to this series of the idea that the Pens had deliberately tossed Sunday’s game so as to match up with the struggling Sens. While no one will ever testify in the affirmative, after Wednesday night’s handling we can almost understand the strategy in place for such a decision.

The Senators injury woes grew again on Wednesday as well, as Anton Volchenkov was assisted off the ice after taking a slap shot to the face in front of Martin Gerber, he did not return for the game and no word was provided as for his status on Friday night.

Some had taken the theme (hello there hockey fans, yes that was us!) that the Senators would excel in the playoffs after a horrible end to the regular season, welcoming the opportunity to redeem themselves and erase the bad taste of February and March.

Judging by Wednesday night’s effort and result, there’s a need for a stronger brand of mouthwash in the Senators dressing room…

From the media files after game one, here’s the feedback from the night’s action.

Pittsburgh Post Gazette--Penguins flatten Senators, 4-0
Pittsburgh Tribune Review--Game 1 win bodes well for Penguins
Ottawa Citizen--Rough start
. Stats Pack

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