Hockey Night in Canada's Scott Morrison delivers his insights into the world of hockey, on and off the ice.
Ducks allow Ottawa back in series
Sunday, June 3, 2007 | 07:54 PM ET
By Scott Morrison
It would appear we have a series, quite an interesting series in fact, after all.
Indeed, the 5-3 victory by the Ottawa Senators on Saturday, an absolute must win for the home team, has for a day at least made things interesting in this Stanley Cup final.
Now, the Senators focus isn't just on surviving, but holding serve on home ice and reducing the series to a best of three. It is entirely possible that will happen, too, if the Senators continue to play the way they did in Game 3, with the same energy, relentless forechecking and balanced scoring.
They matched and often outdid the Ducks in terms of physical play, winning the battles for the puck and forcing turnovers. In many ways, it was a complete reversal, from the midpoint on, of what had transpired in the first two games.
That third game could very well be a game the Ducks come to regret at some point, if they aren't already. They were able to weather the expected early storm, take the excitement out of the building and grab an early lead. Three times, in fact, they led but three times the Senators battled back. This was a game the Ducks had control of and had a grand opportunity to put a stranglehold on the series, but allowed it to get way.
After the Daniel Alfredsson goal, waived off by the officials on the ice but ruled a goal by the officials upstairs, counted, to pull Ottawa even at 3-3, it changed the momentum in the game. Rather than potentially entering the final period down by a goal, the Sens got even and a minute later went ahead to carry a lead into the third themselves. That third Ottawa goal was the game changer. One break led to another and ultimately to a victory.
So now the Ducks are again without defenceman Chris Pronger, who was properly suspended for his hit to the head that levelled Senators centre Dean McAmmond.
Though it wasn't as vicious and he wasn't as enthusiastic as when he hunted down Detroit's Tomas Holmstrom last round, Pronger still stuck his elbow in McAmmond's face and with all the attention on hits to the head in the NHL, it was virtually guaranteed to be punished.
Anyway, so now the Ducks are without Pronger and momentum, while the Senators have battled and overcome some adversity.
Should make for an interesting Game 4.
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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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