The Ottawa Senators battled more than any Sens team in the past during these playoffs but it wasn’t enough as the Pittsburgh Penguins returned the favour with an overtime victory of their own on Saturday night. The 4-3 OT win by the Pens was a crushing blow as Ottawa had built a 3-0 lead halfway through the game.
Last night was definitely a tale of two games. After Daniel Alfredsson made it a 3-0 lead, the Pens scored within a minute of the possible backbreaker goal to make the score 3-1. That goal gave the Pens life as they finished the second period by dominating the Sens over the last 8 minutes of the period. The Pens took that momentum into third period and scored a little over five minutes into the final frame to really put Ottawa on their heels. From that point on Pittsburgh carried the play and had Ottawa backing in on goaltender Pascal Leclaire. The tide had turned and it seemed like it was only a matter of time before the Pens tied it up, which they did with 7:36 remaining.
It truly seemed like the Sens spent so much emotional energy in the first half of the game that they had little left after Pittsburgh crept back into the game. When you look back to the 3OT game and then first 90 minutes of this one, you can’t fault them for anything other than they probably ran out of steam. You could see at times in this series that they truly missed the likes of Milan Michalek and Alex Kovalev. That depth could have paid off for them, yet the players never once mentioned it all playoff series.
The tough thing to believe is that the Sens actually lost all three home games in the series. After being the fifth best home team in the regular season, they just couldn’t get the job done at home. What was more frustrating was that the Sens held Sidney Crosby to zero points in Game 6 and he was on the ice for all 3 Sens goals last night.
I thought Matt Cullen was the Sens best forward last night in chipping with a goal and a assist, while Peter Regin was the best player on his line. Sure Jason Spezza had a better game but Regin the rookie outplayed Spezza all series long and he had a whopping 5 takeaways in Game 6 for the young kid. Spezza meanwhile had another three giveaways and failed to drive the net on key occasions.
Last night was probably the last game Anton Volchenkov will play in a Sens uniform. Volchenkov is seeking 5 million per year after Sens GM Bryan Murray gave Filip Kuba more money last summer than Volchenkov and Chris Phillips after they both took hometown discounts to stay here. With the style of play that Volchenkov plays he needs to maximize his dollar on this contract being in his prime and you can’t blame him. If only Eugene Melnyk hadn’t forced Murray to sign Kovalev to that ridiculous 2 year, 10 million dollar deal then Murray would have the money to sign Volchenkov. I think you will see Murray re-sign Andy Sutton at a cheaper price and hope the young nucleus that the Sens have drafted begin to step in on the blueline.
Up front, I really believe the Sens need to do everything possible to re-sign Cullen. He was one of the best players on the ice for most of the series and he brings alot of experience and leadership, while being extremely well liked by his teammates.
All of these questions and many more will be talked all week long as I get into a season in review. I will break down each position and look at the possible future moves the club makes.
As always, you can reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org
About the Author
Written by Kevin Lee
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 FoxSports.com.