So I went to the Carolina-Ottawa game last night. I could give you a complete redux of the game but Chris McMurtry has done a great job of that over at Hockey Country. I’ll just add a few additional comments.
In general, Ottawa didn’t have the same scoring touch as they have in most other games this year. Although they had some good scoring chances they just couldn’t finish it tonight like they have most other nights. Certainly some of it was Martin Gerber’s excellent play but as Chris pointed out there were a lot of missed/fanned on shots, shots hitting posts or going wide, etc. Something just wasn’t there for them tonight.
Ottawa’s power play continues to struggle going 0 for 8. I think one of the reasons Ottawa’s PP doesn’t seem as as good as 5 on 5 is because Ottawa scores so many of their goals via the transition game. They play a high pressure defense and immediately upon a turnover they hit the rocket boosters out of their own end and score a lot of goals on the (odd man) rush. For obvious reasons this doesn’t happen during PP situations. Even in the offensive zone they play a high-pressure forecheck really challenging the opposing team to make perfect passes to clear the puck out of their own end. Any indecisiveness and they force the turnover which they frequently capitalize on. Again, this situation doesn’t present itself as much in powerplay situations.
I can’t figure out Martin Havlat. He can look so dominant in short handed situations seemingly being the most skilled player on the ice but on 5-on-5 situations seems not to have the same creativity consistantly. Outside of his 4 goal game in Buffalo he hasn’t been anything special most of the time.
I’d like to add one more ‘bad’ to Chris’s list. That is the Ottawa fans for booing every penalty called against the Senators. The two minute standing ovation for Alfredsson quickly converted to a bunch of boos when an Ottawa penalty was announced. You can’t have it both ways. You want he game called tight so you can have open ice for your free-wheeling players but then you criticize the refs when they call the game tight against you. Plus it is one thing to boo a borderline hooking call but quite another to boo Hasek playing the puck in the forbidden zone. Hasek did it, it’s an automatic penalty, get over it. Yes it was close, but close still counts. Blame Hasek (or the rules making committee), but not the referees. That penalty is a black and white call.
Finally, in Ottawa they have been trying to name the Senators top line of Alfredsson-Spezza-Heatley. I am thinking they should be called the Tornado line since they can blow by you and cause a lot of damage but still play second fiddle to Hurricanes.