Ottawa vs.Tampa Bay - Game 4, Eastern Conference Quarter-final
By Chris Iorfida
We are getting closer to puck drop for Game 4. Will we see the intense, low-scoring affair that was much of the first game, or the free-for-all of the last contest?
Ottawa looked more like themselves in Game 3, an 8-4 romp.
Martin Havlat, showing no signs of rust after a long layoff, is the Sens' best offensive threat so far.
Tampa coach John Tortorella thought his team rattled Ottawa goalie Ray Emery in the third period last time out. Was he right or was it a desperation tactic to try and get into Emery's head?
Speaking of the too-brave Lecavalier, no truth to the rumours he's interested in joining the WWE and taking on Kane and The Big Show or lacing up the gloves to box seven-footer Nikolay Valuev.
Ottawa 5, Tampa Bay 2Three points for Heatley and two each for Havlat and Spezza. The big guns showed up and then some. The Senators will try and finish off the series Saturday at 7:00 p.m. EDT in Ottawa.Keep it locked on Hockey Night in Canada to see if Edmonton and Calgary can each win their second in a row.Could we see Ottawa-Montreal and Edmonton-Calgary in the next round?! We'll see. Join us for our next blog Friday at 7:00 p.m. EDT when Montreal and Carolina clash in Game 4.
3rd Period, 17:10Decibel levels at The St. Pete Times Forum have been mausoleum-like for much of the third.
3rd Period, 13:26Emery continues to be strong when called upon.
There was a lot of talk of inexperienced goalies heading into the playoffs, but right now it's a wash. Sure, Gerber and Lundqvist have struggled, but so too have Grahame, Turco and Giguere. And first-timers like Emery, Miller, Mason and Cam Ward have been just fine.
3rd Period, 8:45Barring something dramatic, Tortorella will have to whip up some kind of motivational magic. Maybe he'll use reverse psychology and say, "Emery's really great. I'm not sure we can beat him."
3rd Period, 1:24
Ottawa 5, Tampa Bay 2Weird goal for Ottawa. Chris Neil out of the box and on the breakaway, just like Meszaros in the first. Neil, public enemy No. 1 in Tampa, scores on the rebound when new Tampa goalie Sean Burke can't find the rebound. What a greeting for Burke.
2nd IntermissionTampa dug a hole with their late-period lapse. They're outshooting Ottawa 25-17 but in danger of dropping both games at home.
2nd Period, 17:50
Ottawa 4, Tampa Bay 2Two goals in 40 seconds!
Schaefer catches Tampa napping and finds Havlat in the slot and he scores his league-best fifth.
2nd Period, 17:10
Ottawa 3, Tampa Bay 2Another PP chance and this time Ottawa makes good. Dany Heatley takes a feed from Havlat at the side of the net and puts it in.
Spezza got an assist, too, and now leads all NHL players with 9 points (should be noted he's played one more game than Elias).
2nd Period, 13:30A power-play opp for Ottawa. A score here could be killer.
2nd Period, 5:59
Tampa Bay 2, Ottawa 2Chris Phillips, he of the one goal this season (scored in January) makes like Bossy and picks the top right corner from the slot.
2nd Period, 4:30Chris Kelly has two cracks at it, but Grahame is playing much better than in Game 3.
2nd Period, 1:02Grahame does the splits to stop Ottawa's best PP chance. Ouch. Or as Chris Walken would say, "Ou-wich".
1st IntermissionOttawa will need to re-group and pick up the intensity.
What is it about this team that they can never take the easy route?
1st Period, 16:15
Tampa Bay 2, Ottawa 1Richards skates in several strides from near the point and somehow misses Big Chara with his blast. It misses Emery too, unfortunately for Sens' fans.
1st Period, 12:05Murray can't be too thrilled with this period so far. The Sens are looking a little lax in their own end. Afanasenkov gained the zone and fired a good shot on Emery.
1st Period, 11:10
Ottawa 1, Tampa Bay 1St. Louis deflects a Paul Ranger shot on a play where it sure looked like he pushed Bryan Smolinski into Emery.
1st Period, 6:13
Ottawa 1, Tampa Bay 0What did I say about Spezza? He dekes the Lightning D and uses his reach to fire a wrister past Grahame. Heatley, who scored a Gordie Howe the other night (goal, assist, fight) assists.
1st Period, 5:10Meszaros leaves the penalty box and gets a breakaway, but Grahame stands his ground. Bryan Murray probably wishes it was Havlat or Spezza who took the minor.
1st Period, 3:50The fog is affecting some of the fans. They think a Lightning shot on the PP that hit the side of the net went in.
1st Period, 1:10Emery coughs up the puck and Tampa nearly scores. Maybe Tortorella was on to something.
The game appears to be taking place in a fog, thanks to the pre-game fooferaw.