Thomas
DeChastelain
Memorial Archives

A Play-Off Style Win, Senators 3, Thrashers 1
posted Mar 10, 2006 at 10:38PM

Ottawa exploded out of the gate, scoring three goals on the first four shots and then leaned on outstanding goaltending by Emery to take the day. If there were any demons for Emery coming back to this locale, they were dispatched with confident efficiency. Spectacular, timely saves were the order of his evening.

It looks like Tyler Arnason is going to work out just fine if his first outing is any indication. He only played ten minutes, but he was a presence every time he was on the ice, and from the sounds of it was instrumental in setting up Smolinski's goal.

For the record the line combinations were as follows

Schaeffer-Fisher- Neil
Alfredson-Arnason -Smolinski
Vermette-Spezza-Heatley
Varada-Kelly-Eaves

From the radio it sounded like all four lines had good games, outshooting the Thrashers by a two to one margin. Dean Brown mentioned that the Fisher line did not have their best outing. If so then this was more than compensated for by Kelly, who cranked it up to a new level

I think it was very astute to put Arnason with the two veterans. Smolinski always plays his best hockey when paired with Alfredson - indeed until the creation of the big line, Smolinski/Alfredson was a "sacred cow" pairing. I don't see this as permanent, but until Havlat gets back it should do quite nicely.

There are really no glaring weakness here. To give you an idea of how much we have improved from last season consider this. Last season Varada was a winger on our second line with Hossa and Bonk. Right now he is on the bubble of our fourth line. And it is not that Varada is playing bad, indeed he is playing even better than in the last season. It is just that everyone around him has gotten that much better.

I do wish Murray would give Vermette a crack on the powerplay. It is not like it was going any great shakes, putting in a 0 for 8 performance. I mean how is that possible. Vermette, putting Neil back in there, or Chara in a forward position.

I was really hoping that Heatley could pot one, if for no other reason but to put the boo birds in thier place. It sounded like he was a little shaky early on, but got his old form back as the game went on. It sounded like they were putting good pressure, and were getting quality shots but couldn't get it past the Atlanta goalie who really turned his game around after the first five minutes

The referreeing was completely bush league. I really hope that the league is not descending into clutch and grab wrestling mode again, as that definitely works against the Senators.

But in the big scheme of things I am sure that stuff like powerplay and the refs will sort itself out. I am starting to get that early season feeling about the Senators. They are starting to get back to their old dominating form. With a finely tuned Havlat coming back, we are going to be one very very hard team to beat in a playoff series.

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