Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Must... Make... Time... Pass... Faster...

Sammy Pahlsson laid the smack down on the Sens' candy asses in Game one, recording a game high eight hits.

Today is a very slow day, almost as monotonous and boring a Wednesday as is humanly possible. The day has somehow managed to take on the agonizing crawl that early August (in all it's hockey-less glory) has. Maybe it's just that there's not a whole lot to talk about outside of the Finals, and most of those talking points are already worn out. Maybe I should have tried to sleep for more than five hours last night. Maybe Dominik Hasek needs to retire so that we could all talk about when his comeback would be. Either way, 8 o'clock needs to get here. Fast.

To try and kill some time, I'll recap what should be the key points to tonight's Game two in Anaheim.

For the Ducks:

  • Keep up the physical play - Jack up the intensity and keep this a physical series. The Sens top line of Heatley-Spezza-Alfreddson was bested by the Ducks checkling line (although the Sens trio still managed to get on the scoreboard), and a repeat of that could push the Ducks to a 2-0 lead.
  • Ryan Getzlaf: Make it look like you've been here before - Getzlaf scored the tying goal in Game One, and had a superb effort in the third period, but he's going to have to make it a sixty minute affair if the Ducks are going to be successful. They've chosen to put the pressure on a 22-year old (yikes), let's see if he can continue to step up.
  • Stay out of the box - Part of the problem with being such a physical team is that it will get you into trouble with the Zebras. The Ducks led the NHL in PIM during the regular season, and they're doing the same during the playoffs where they average just under 19 minutes per game. That's almost a full period! If they can 'walk the line' between penalties and clean play, they can make the Sens' lives that much more difficult.
  • Get all up in Ray Emery's grill - Game one proved that Emery has trouble dealing with traffic in front of him. Now it's time to exploit that.

For the Senators:

  • Lead by example - The Sens' top line put forth a good effort in Game one, but they are the reason that the team has gone this far. They helped carry a majority of the load through the playoffs - now they have to take the Sens to the promised land.
  • Come to play - After Game one, it was apparent that the Sens didn't play up their normal standards and may have been a little rusty. Not only is the top line going to have to step up, but the rest of the team is, too.
  • Challenge J.S. Giguere - Sometimes it helps to throw the puck at the net and see what happens. Ottawa managed only 20 shots on goal in Game one, three in the first period alone. That number is only two-thirds of their playoff average (30.75) and even less compared to their average during the regular season (32.3). Their mission for Game two; get more pucks on net.
  • Continue to win the special teams battle - 2-for-7 on the power play is a good statistic, and more importantly it's much better than the goose egg that Anaheim recorded on Monday night (0-for-4). If those stats hold up during Game two, the series will be a split going back to Ottawa.
  • Hold onto the puck - The Sens need to do a better job controlling the puck. They had 14 giveaways in Game one, compared to only 5 for the Ducks. We saw what turnovers did to the Red Wings, the Sens needs to try and hold onto the puck to avoid the same fate.

That's all for now. Try and enjoy the rest of your afternoon, I'll talk to you tomorrow morning after the dust has settled.

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