Fifteen to Go! Ottawa 4, Tampa Bay 1
posted Apr 21, 2006 at 11:26PM
Superior special teams play carried the day and allowed the Senators to mount a third period flurry and grab a confidence boosting first game win over Tampa.
The powerplay unit moved the puck at will, and by the third period found the range. Havlat broke some long standing ice to get his first of the playoffs, and Spezza threaded the needle to give us the lead. Spezza who seemed hesitant in the first period grew stronger as the game went on. For someone who is always screaming for "concentrated offensive talent" our number one power play was wish fulfillment extra ordinaire. Spezza, Heatley, Havlat, Alfredson and Redden. Now that's what I call bringing a bazooka to a knife fight.
Fisher got the back-breaker, a short-handed effort masterminded by stellar work by Schaefer. Schaefer had a monster game and Emery let it be known that Hasek could take his time recuperating, putting in a text book playoff performance.
I am a little bit concerned that we did not get any even strength goals, and the game was much more even than I would have liked. The best line to my eyes was the Fisher line with Havlat and Schaefer, which as it goes, was the only "Quasimodos - sanctioned" line in use. The most pleasant surprise was our fourth line. And have no doubts why - Vermette showed up to play tonight. He elevated his game to another level without looking like he was playing over his head.. He used his speed to generate offensive pressure both on even strength and on the PK. He was liquid helium with the puck, and looked to be one of the few Senators not suffering from play-off jitters in the first half of the game. Most impressively, according to the ESPN box score, he was a mind-bending 15-4 on face-offs.
There was nothing that happened tonight that makes me a convert to breaking the Big Line apart. Put them together and the one-two punch with the Fisher line would be irresistible, and we could put these guys to bed quickly.
Next game the cross-bars may not be so friendly.
All in all though it was great to get this first win under our belt. A great confidence booster.