Hockey Night in Canada's Scott Morrison delivers his insights into the world of hockey, on and off the ice.
Senators look impressive
Friday, May 11, 2007 | 11:40 AM ET
By Scott Morrison
It's only one game and you shouldn't have to remind fans of the Ottawa Senators not to leap to conclusions after only one game, so we won't.
Because, as they well know, leaping to conclusions has often led to disappointment and to leaping off bandwagons.
So, it's only one game...
But there was lots within that one game - a 5-2 victory in Buffalo over the Sabres in the Eastern Conference final opener Thursday night - that was very impressive.
Despite allowing a two-goal lead to slip away, unlike a year ago the Senators were able to remain calm and in control and produce a win, marking seventh time in their last eight series they have won the series opener. That they have never been able to follow up with a win in game two in eight tries under those circumstances is a topic for another day.
But the Senators also managed to limit the high-powered Sabres (both teams are high-powered, of course) to just 20 shots, half of those coming after the game had been tied midway through the night. So that is impressive.
The Senators also only gave away the puck just eight times, the Sabres 19 and two of those were dandies, leading directly to the first and third (winning) goals.
Special teams were also very good, the Senators 2-for-6 with the man advantage. Dating back to last spring, they have now scored at least one power-play goal in 10 consecutive playoff games on the road. They opened the scoring with a shorthanded goal and didn't allow the Sabres a power-play goal on five chances.
The Senators also didn't have to rely on their big line of Jason Spezza, Dany Heatley and Daniel Alfredsson to win, though the latter did score again, marking the first time in his career that the captain has scored in three straight playoff games. But they also got production from the supporting cast, including the fourth line which produced two goals, including the winner. The Sens are also the only team in the post-season to score at least two goals in every game.
And the big man between the pipes, goaltender Ray Emery, was rock solid, good when he needed to be.
All told, there weren't many blemishes for the Senators, apart from letting a lead get away, but they managed to take care of business in impressive fashion.
It's only one game - and in 2003, in the conference championship, the Senators won the opener and we all know had that one ended - but it was an impressive one game and it moves them to within three of where they want to be and it will give the Sabres plenty to be concerned about.
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About the Author
Scott Morrison, the recipient of the Hockey Hall of Fameís 2006 Elmer Ferguson Memorial Award, has been covering hockey for 25 years. The Toronto native began his career at the Toronto Sun in 1979. After spending more than 11 years as a hockey writer and columnist at the paper, Morrison became Sports Editor in 1991 and led the section to being named one of North America's top-ten sports sections in 1999 - the first sports section in Canada to receive the AP Sports Editors North American Award. Scott, a former two-term president of the Professional Hockey Writers' Association, joined Rogers Sportsnet in 2001 as Managing Editor, Hockey, and is currently both a commentator on Hockey Night in Canada and a columnist for CBC.ca.
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