Better Than Sex? - Senators 4, Lightening 3
posted Mar 14, 2006 at 11:44PM
What a great, great GREAT, GREAT, GREAT game. Oh yes after three games on the radio what a treat! I do not know how much "analysis" I can provide because the wife and I were just pure fans, yelling and screaming and hollering and of course lots of cheering and whooping and laughing.
Wow! What a great game.
Down 3-1 with Alfie in the box for four minutes, but the Senators came back like champions, and the Big Line capped it off with a tremendous tic-tac-toe goal with seconds remaining.
One this had to be the best home crowd we have had this season. We were down 3-1 and the ref pulled this gonzo call on Alfredson and the crowed just lost it. They booed and booed and then booed some more and you could see the Senators just getting juiced up. Murray was great...he had the ref come over and he gave him the gears...unlike Jacque Martin, who would have accepted the call with his usual stoicism leaving every Senators fan feeling like a rape victim.
I tell you what. There were a lot of stars out there on the ice today especially amongst the forwards, but this game was won by Vermette and Kelly. The local media love Kelly and they all gave him the first star, and I do not begrudge that and he is full marks for it...but you cannot talk about Kelly without talking about Vermette.
These two "single-handedly" not just kept Ottawa in the game with their penalty killing, they literally changed the momentum of the game. If the hockey gods were feeling even a little bit generous, these two could have combined for four or five short-handed goals between them.
Kelly and Vermette were just flying out there. They literally had sparks coming off their skate blades and lightening blowing out their butts. There was one play where on the PK, the puck is cleared down the ice - Vermette starts behind every other player, puts it in gear, passes everyone and gets to the other end at the same time as the Tampa goalie, and almost scores on the wrap around.
You can see why these guys look at the PK as almost some kind of reprieve. On the PK Kelly can actually pretend he is a winger again, and Vermette can pretend he is a center. And that is what you are seeing when these two are out there, the interaction of a great young centre and a great young winger. If Kelly seemed to be getting a shot everytime he streaked down the boards, it was because Vermette had come back from the lab with a little Spezza DNA spliced in. Vermette's passing was the best I have seen all year: he was just throwing lasers out there. They were on the ice for the whole two minutes of Alfredson's penalty and they actually had the edge in play. The hell with killing off the penalty...these guys wanted to score goals!!
Of course, once the penalty was killed, and down 3-1, Murray shortened his bench and put the "Big" line back together. You could just see how the whole notion of replacing Alfredson is just a non-starter. Their first shift was two and half minutes long (throw away the stop watch) and they put on a clinic. Tampa Bay players, even LeCavalier and St-Louis, were reduced to the status of pylons whenever this line got on the ice..
The other lines got kind of jumbled. At first the second line was composed of Arnason between Vermette and Smolinski. I have to admit I was a little incredulous at the sight of seeing a line with three natural centers out there all at the same time. But you know what? Those three may as well have just come off a Borg Cube....I mean they were "on", applying tremendous pressure whenever they were on the ice. Vermette and Arnasson looked like they were playing together since they were kids. It really looks to be another potential pairing that Murray is going to have to consider. If there was one thing about Vermette, was that he had a little too much Schaeffer/Spezza in him tonight....there were times when I wished he had just cranked it up and let that puck riiip!!
This was a big, big game for Murray. For the first time in a long time he was the "anti-Martin". We have lost "this" kind of game so often in the past, but not tonight, Murray made sure of that.
This was also a big, big game for Emery. Two shots got by him in 29 seconds. He did not lose his cool. He did not melt down. He battened down the hatches and stopped everything from that point on. A tremendous performance, under great pressure, against a proud adversary, playing desperation hockey.
In the end the Big Line came through with a beautiful power-play goal to tie it up, and then got the winner, with what seemed like a six way passing play, ending with Spezza getting the puck to the Captain, who put it in the net, with seven seconds left ....much to the sheer unadulterated ecstacy of all concerned.
Way to go Senators!