Finish It! Game 5 Pre-Game
posted Apr 29, 2006 at 12:45PM
As has been discussed earlier, finishing your first round early helps give the team it's "fair advantage" for round 2. Rest - mental and physical are the key benifits.
With over a dozen players having scored a goal during this series, you would think I would be a convert to the "balanced" approach to line combinations. It still remains my biggest concern. We have so much depth up front, that even when it is spread out, we would still match up well against a Tampa which has no real defensive scheme, and shoddy goal tending.
The fact that the Fisher line is a good line is no surprise to me. That they are now our top line is disconcerting when you remember we used to have a line that was even better! The fact that we have not been able to out shoot Tampa in a single game, may seem to be a red herring in the context of this series, but it makes me worried about us generating sufficient offensive pressure to overcome a team with a stiffer defense and more solid net-minding.
I have seen nothing in the papers so I will assume the Senators will go with the same basic line ups. Why mess with something that is working.
That probably means Vermette will stay with Spezza and Heatley. They looked very good together in game 3, but were much less impressive in game 4. Was game 3 a one game wonder? It certainly did not help their cause that Spezza had three give aways and won only 4 of 18 face-offs. It is tough to generate offense on a 45 second shift when you start each one by having to get the puck off the other team. But even when they had the puck they did not look like a coordinated unit like the game before.
I definitely have mixed feelings here. I like it that Vermette is playing with these guys, but to me Alfredson is still the best guy to be put up there. As well, although I know Vermette and Spezza had a grand ole time together playing razzle dazzle in Bingo last season, everything I have seen this year points to a clash of styles with Heatley. And here your top scorer is your top priority.
Except for the empty netter in game 1, Alfredson has yet to score a real goal. So at the least I would like to see him pot one or two tonight.