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Sens in deep hole after Game 4 loss

The Ottawa Senators will be looking to do what only 13 teams have done in NHL history when they visit Pittsburgh tomorrow night and that is comeback to win a seven game series after trailing 3-1 in the series.  After losing yet again on homeice, this time 7-4, Ottawa just doesn’t have the goaltending to compete in these playoffs.  Ottawa is in a major hole and needs to win three games in a row, something that just doesn’t seem possible at this point unless the Sabres trade the Sens Ryan Miller in time for tomorrow nights game.

It also doesn’t help matters if you are a Sens player when you are playing against two teams, yes the Penguins and the men in stripes.  It goes without saying that the officiating was horrible once again but that is here nor there when you have awful goaltending and not enough firepower.  The injuries to Alexei Kovalev and Milan Michalek are starting to show up front.  You just can’t run and gun with the Pens.  But when it comes to goaltending, Brian Elliott actually kept his team in this one for the first period, but that is where it ended.  Elliott allowed a terrible second goal and after the third goal to open the second period, Elliott was clearly rattled.  So what does our terrible head coach do, he calls a timeout and you think he is going to put in Pascal Leclaire.  Instead he leaves Elliott in and the Pens score within moments of the timeout ending.  Game over.  Clouston’s ridiculous decisions when it comes to his boys from his Binghamton days stings this team yet again!  It only took Clouston two games to realize that the starting the number one line to begin the game wasn’t working.  He finally started the Sens best line, their third line. 

But give Ottawa credit for fighting and making a game of it.  After Daniel Alfredsson made it 4-2, a pain of glass fell out of the seams just as Ottawa had a glorious chance to fire the puck at what seemed a open net.  Alfie had the puck about 15 feet away from the net and Fleury was out of position.  Naturally the refs need to blow the play dead.  After the glass was fixed the Pens score shorthanded and instead of the game possibly being 4-3 it was now 5-2.  Still, the Sens came back and scored right away to pull within two goals but that is as close as they would get.  With the game 6-4, Leclaire allowed an awful goal and took any wind out of the crowd and the Sens chances of making the miraculous comeback. 

When looking at this game and taking the time to analyze both teams, it’s clear to see how good the Penguins truly are.   I am not just talking about their skill but it’s their attention to detail.  Ottawa ruined momentum on their side twice in the third period on too many men on the ice penalties.  For something so brutal to occur not once but twice in the final period reflects on this teams mental state.  The Pens just don’t beat themselves and they bury their chances, end of story!  What more can you say about Sidney Crosby?  For a guy making 9 million per year and our so-called star player in Jason Spezza making 7 million per year, the 2 million dollar difference seems like twenty when you see how far away Spezza is from becoming a complete player. 

Spezza will never correct his laziness and selfish plays, NEVER!  Last night was a prime example of why he is overpaid and still refuses to listen to his coaches.  The guy is 27 years old and at key moments in the game he does behind the back to passes to the opposition or dropback passes to the other team, resulting in a goal.  It really is that simple with him.  Eliminate the selfish play and fans/media wouldn’t be on his back.  He always has an answer to his play in postgame interviews yet he never translates that into success on the ice.  My prediction of Spezza and Alfie needing two goals from their line for a Sens win failed when Ottawa fell behind 4-0.  Spezza and Alfie both finished with a goal and an assist but Spezza’s minus two and two giveaways where glaring mistakes!  He did manage six shots on goal but missed the net five times. 

Defensively the Sens were overcommitting far too much, similar to Game 3.  Erik Karlsson’s rookie play showed up big time with his three giveaways but lucky for him Andy Sutton was there to bail him out. 

When looking at the game stats a few things standout.  Sens had six shots on goal in the opening period when you should be playing desperate hockey, not the start you want.  Sens were outshot on the game by Pittsburgh 42-30 but outhit the Pens as well as winning the faceoff battle.  Phillips and Volchenkov were each a minus three and really have been non-factors all series.  Sutton and Winchester led the team with 7 hits apiece.  On the Pens side, Malkin had 9 shots on goal and 8 missed shots on goal.

So who starts in goal for Game 5?  Mike Brodeur?  Trust me I am not kidding.

As always, you can reach me at


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Written by
Kevin has had an extensive career as a sports writer and radio show host for almost 10 years. Kevin has covered the NFL, NHL, MLB, NCAA College Football and Basketball. From covering the BCS Championship Game to the Final Four and the Stanley Cup Finals, he has done it all. He has been featured on numerous sports radio stations in Canada and the United States and often a weekly guest on numerous XM and Sirius Satellite radio shows. He has also had his work featured on

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In response to “Sens in deep hole after Game 4 loss”

  1. g0alkeeper Apr 21 20109:45 am


    Nice job of pointing out our shortcomings. Our mental mistakes are killing us, but I really think that Spezza is the culprit here. He pushed the snowball that ultimately buried our hopes of evening the series at 2-2. We were in a 1-goal game until his blind backhand pass led to Crosby’s breakaway goal. Only a few seconds later, the Pens popped in their third and the game was essentially over.

    Frankly, I would only fault Elliott on the fourth goal, after which he was immediately yanked. The first goal was the one-timer on the PP from Malkin, the second came on the breakaway by the best player in hockey, and the third came as all 6 Sens on the ice were still trying to recover from the shellshock of watching Spezza give away our season.

    Leclaire was OK, the ref-ing was inconsistent, but the truth is that our three most expensive players on the ice were just not good enough – Alfie struggled to get involved, Fisher is a no-show, and Spezza was classic Spezza.

    The off-season awaits, with many personnel decisions to be made and very little wiggle room in our salary cap. Bryan Murray will have to work some magic if he’s going to improve the lineup enough to ensure the Sens remain a playoff team next year.

    1. Kevin Lee Apr 21 201010:51 pm


      Leclaire would have been the starter in Game 5 if not for the 3rd goal he allowed, the 7th of the game. That was a killer and showed the coaching staff he is not ready to play right now.

      Agreed on Spezza, our star player is nowhere near the Pens star players when it comes to production or wanting it more. The sad part is he is 4 years older than Crosby and Malkin and are outplaying him badly.

  2. Chris Rydburg Apr 21 201010:15 am


    Why o why did I pick them to win?

    1. Kevin Lee Apr 21 201010:51 pm


      I hear ya Chris. Plenty of us had high hopes, especially after Game 1.

  3. Jim Mulligan Apr 21 201010:17 am


    After tonight, maybe Buffalo makes that trade…OK, I can hope right?

    Funny you mention “Clouston’s ridiculous decisions” because the guys in the Versus booth were commending him on a super coaching job last night.

    Oh and for anyone not living in the States, I’m going to let you in on a secret. Versus really wants Ovechkin/Crosby in the East Conf Finals…but don’t tell anyone I said it.

  4. Kevin Thurston Apr 21 201011:18 am


    Stick a fork in em

  5. Jamie Van Dusen Apr 21 201012:23 pm


    The injuries, as Kevin said, is really showing up big time. The team is not playing the game that got them here in the first place, but the officiating is really making me consider not given my time and money to this league anymore. Can you say conspiracy????

    Spezza was not lazy Kev the whole game! I admit, that pathetic pass at the blue line cost us all momentum, but he is moving and even hitting out there.

    Although it’s a long shot, we aren’t dead yet!

    1. Kevin Lee Apr 21 201010:54 pm


      Jamie, he is playing perimeter hockey and not getting the results…..he is inconsistent as ever and for that nobody should be making excuses for him. Of course he should be moving but he is going nowwhere, skating on the perimeter gets you no results and that is what he has done all series. Sorry man. Not trying to come off the wrong way, but Spezza’s ship has sailed, he needs a change of scenery.

      But I agree with you on the officiating, just awful and why would anyone want to pay to see this garbage?

  6. Eric Cooney Apr 21 201012:46 pm


    I’m with you Kevin, why not Mike Brodeur? His first few NHL games were stellar, and as someone who got to witness the emergence of Cam Ward in the 2006 playoffs, I say sometimes the post-season is the best time for a rookie keeper to show his mettle and earn his stripes.

    That said, Crosby will still probably torch him :(

    1. Kevin Lee Apr 21 201010:58 pm


      Plus Brodeur is playing for his first one way contract if possible next year. People want to point to his number in the AHL, they had the worst damn defense in the AHL, bar none! No wonder he had bad numbers down there. I think you go with Brodeur and the nothing to lose approach.

  7. john4sens Apr 21 20108:31 pm


    spezza’s performance does NOT match his potental which has been a constant through-out his career——we have been waiting for him to mature–too soft and too fancy at inopportune times——a set of horse blinders might be in order to keep him focused on the oppositions net——-it has to be deflating for the other hard playing in your face sens to see spezza without a scratch or bruise night after night——it is desperation time for the sens brodeur for leclair and donovan for spezza would put a twist——sens had to call out the refs earlier in the year—-time to make that call again

    1. Kevin Lee Apr 21 201010:57 pm


      As many say in the media behind closed doors and not on the record, the Sens are a nice team and always do things the right way. Well that way is getting us nowhere!

      You are bang on with your comments on Spezza not showing any wear on his body for battling, because he doesnt know what that means, lol!

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