Monday, May 21, 2007

Senators vs. Penguins: Round 1, Game 5

Senators 3, Penguins 0

PRESIDENT’S 2 CENTS: And so, the flightless birds are sent back off the ice rink to the ice flows in five games. Hats off to their fight in Game 4, but you have to wonder where it was tonight. All boils down to playoff inexperience and lack of depth, but confidence after firing blanks at the start was the difference, not effort, which was there … Speaking of inexperience, Evgeni Malkin’s really was quite obvious. At least he has a future in this league and his playoff mettle will come around, unlike another certain Russian who used to patrol the Ottawa ice … Speaking of Russians, where was Sergei Gonchar in this series? That Pens PP sure should have been better with him at the helm, or at least had more chances this series. He finished a -3 with four playoff points. Quiet ones, however, like Malkin's four … Dirty hit by Gary Roberts on A-Train Volchenkov spoke volumes of painfully obvious frustration. Being as he got away with that one and other ones, at the very least he would have gotten away with them for the Sens should Muckler have picked him up. On the flip side, there’s toughness spread all over this Senators team, so hindsight in this case is not 20-20. Consider the non-acquisition of Gary Roberts a success … Mike Fisher’s stat line: 0 G, 0 A, 0 PTS, 7 hits. One word: perfect. Another hard-fought game, Fish, including that two-hit sideshow on Jordan Staal and Michel Ouellet. Take a bow … Before the rambling goes too long, hats off to Razor. Kept this thing from falling off the wheels right after the curtain-draw, stopping seven Penguin shots on two five-on-threes. Sid the Kid had four of them en route to five in the frame. Could have been six had he not converted a sweet cross-ice feed, but he missed for the second game in a row … Speaking of the Kid, the only reason Spezza got a penalty for butt-ending him was so the zebras could finally nail him for dressing up a reaction. So much for the season finale of the Crosby Show, Canada … Looks like the Michel Therrien decided against using more toughness after all, as Georges Laraque played a team-low 3:02 ... Two happy-ending subplots to tonight: Heater finally potting one, and Redden with an improved effort. Speaking of Reds, that first penalty of the game had to be crushing for his confidence at the time, whether Ouellet dived or not (he did) … 11:27 left in the first: first booing of Colby Armstrong. 6:27 left: louder boo. Good job, Bank faithful (on the Roberts and Crosby booing too). However, PLEASE next time step it up. Huge save by Emery off a rebound? Mostly cheering while sitting. Big play by the Cash line with three or so glorious scoring chances? Ditto. Stand up, Ottawa! Even Lyndon Slewidge had to encourage the patrons to take over O Canada. Still a ways to go to outdo the Oiler fans … Ryan Whitney showed up strong in the third for the Pens tonight after taking that hard shot off the back of his leg. Malkin, are you taking notes? … Anyone else praying when the A-Train stopped at the station (dressing room) after the Roberts hit? … Most reassuring Dean Brown line when I was driving: “Phillips takes Crosby, Volchenkov takes the puck.” Another great call, Deaner … On the subject of commentators, here’s the Bob Cole Line of the Night: “It’s been a great series, even though it’s 3-1.” Huh? Sounds like someone wanting to see more Pittsburgh in this series … not only did Antoine Vermette score a pretty one, but he did his usual fantastic two-way sideshow tonight, including one fantastic play during the opening few penalty kills where he took a hit, bounced the puck off the boards to himself, and killed a few more seconds. Could have simply cleared it, but those plays show your comrades you’re ready to battle … Couldn’t have had one last Pens game without CBC catching a Michel Therrien f-bomb … Jordan Staal is a horse and will only get better. Watch out, NHL … after Mike Comrie rang that bullet off the crossbar and 20,000+ goal judges (including the real one) signaled a tally, you know Bryan Murray had that St. Louis game in mind when he quickly motioned for the refs to go upstairs … Last but not least, what 70s-era drapes or tablecloth died to make Don Cherry’s suit tonight? Call it Drapes on Grapes. That’s one scenario where you look away from HD.

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