Tampa Bay vs. Ottawa - Game 5, Eastern Conference Quarter-final
By Jesse Campigotto
The Ottawa Senators are, as they say, in the driver's seat.
After dropping Game 2 six days ago, the Senators left for Tampa with pundits questioning everything from the effectiveness of their defensive zone coverage to whether or not their bodies actually contained functioning cardio-pulmonary systems.
The Sens then proceeded to win both games in Tampa by a combined score of 13-6 to take a 3-1 lead in the series and turn themselves into figurative Mario Andrettis.
Meanwhile, the Lightning appear to be self-destructing, with coach John Tortorella throwing a tirade after Game 4, then throwing shaky goaltender John Grahame under the bus and electing to start backup Sean Burke in Game 5.
The burning questions for tonight's Game 5, then: Will the Senators wrap up the series? Will Ottawa's explosive forwards keep up their barrage on Tampa's goalies? Will Tortorella continue to dress, and drop f-bombs, like Chris Moltisanti?
We're about to find out.
GAME OVERThanks for joining us for tonight's action. You can check back here tomorrow for live commentary of Game 5 between Montreal and Carolina as the Habs try to avoid losing their third straight. Also, thanks to the magic of the inter-web, you can check out CBC's Stanley Cup coverage anytime of the day or night, at your leisure.
GAME OVERDuring a post-game interview, Friedman informs Ray Emery that he is the first rookie goalie to win a playoff series since the immortal Brian Boucher did it in 2000.
THIRD PERIOD, 20:00Final score: Ottawa 3, Tampa Bay 2. And it's over. The Senators knock off the defending Cup champs in five games.
THIRD PERIOD, 19:05Very, very interesting: Ottawa is called for a delay-of-game penalty for shooting the puck over the glass. Great opportunity for Tampa to tie it.
THIRD PERIOD, 18:31The shorthanded Lightning actually generate more scoring chances than Ottawa during the Sens' power play. Right after the penalty expires, Ottawa works a nice three-way passing play but Kelly shoots the puck right at Burke.
THIRD PERIOD, 16:27He's not scoring, but Alfredsson makes a nice play while shorthanded to draw a penalty. He takes out Dan Boyle near the Tampa bench, then threatens a breakaway, forcing Boyle to haul him down. Ottawa will have a power play for about 1:40.
THIRD PERIOD, 11:48The action is really heating up. Daniel Alfredsson and Chris Kelly break in on a two-on-one and Kelly sets up Alfredsson for a clear shot on Burke. But the ice-cold Alfie's shot is stopped by the shoulder of the Tampa goalie.
THIRD PERIOD, 9:44Another fine save by Burke as he gloves a hard slap shot from Chara, who was walking in from the blue line.
THIRD PERIOD, 8:46A great chance for Tampa as Lecavalier gets a breakaway. But Chara makes a nice play to catch up to him and force Lecavalier to resort to a backhand, which Emery turns aside with his blocker.
THIRD PERIOD, 7:12Burke stops Heatley on a good chance in front. Whatever happens in this game, I think it's safe to say Tortorella won't be blaming his goalie.
THIRD PERIOD, 2:22Havlat is in position for two good chances via some good passes to him in front of the net. He probalby should have one-timed both, but he tries to control them and ends up not getting a shot off.
Tampa then goes on the power play after Vincent Lecavalier is hooked on a breakaway. It's Tampa's second power play, while Ottawa has had five.
SECOND PERIOD, 20:00With Ottawa holding a one-goal lead, it promises to be an entertaining third period. The Senators put 17 shots on Burke in the second period while allowing 11 on Ray Emery.
SECOND PERIOD, 18:15Ottawa 3, Tampa Bay 2. The Lightning just won't go away. Some shoddy work by the Senators in their own end results in Brad Richards getting the puck alone in front. Tampa's top scorer makes no mistake, much to the delight of some guy in the crowd wearing a Lightning jersey. I'm sure he's been a Tampa fan all his life.
SECOND PERIOD, 16:40Ottawa almost goes up 4-1 on two occasions. But Burke makes a sprawling save on a Sens forward who was open in front, then stones Havlat on a breakaway.
SECOND PERIOD, 15:02Ottawa 3, Tampa Bay 1. Ottawa restores its two-goal lead on a beauty. On the power play, Heatley throws a laser of a backhand pass right to the tape of Havlat, who for some reason is open in front of the Lightning net. Havlat zips the puck over Burke and just under the cross-bar.
SECOND PERIOD, 9:27Tampa defenceman Dan Boyle, who wears a visor, heads to the dressing room after it appears the puck hits him in the face. This, combined with the horrific eye injury suffered by Saku Koivu, who also wears a visor, has me wondering: how long until NHL players are regularly wearing full cages? Nowhere in the foreseeable future, it seems.
SECOND PERIOD, 6:41Some good action at both ends but no scoring. Tampa is looking particularly sharp in this period. Maybe Johnny Torts delivered one of his vaunted motivational speeches during the intermission. Unlike in the first, it's looking like we might have a decent game on our hands.
SECOND PERIOD, 1:37Ottawa 2, Tampa Bay 1. A sloppy Ottawa breakout leads to a turnover. Evgeny Artyukhin bangs in the rebound off a shot by Cory Sarich.
FIRST INTERMISSIONA quick check of some regular-season stats reveals John Grahame put up a 3.06 goals against average and .889 save percentage in 2005-06. Yikes. Really, what was the Lightning expecting him to do against Ottawa? Burke, by the way, posted a 2.80 and .895.
FIRST PERIOD, 20:00The Sens take a two-goal lead into the dressing room. Here's my question: if Burke gives up, say, four goals in the second period, will Tortorella go back to Grahame after all that's been said over the last couple days?
FIRST PERIOD, 15:44Ottawa 2, Tampa Bay 0. See, now you made them mad. The Sens shake off the disallowed goal and, 20 seconds later, Andrej Meszaros blasts one in from the point.
FIRST PERIOD, 15:24Schaefer almost scores his second of the night. Redden gets one of his trademark half-pass, half-shot what-have-yous off from the point, the puck richochets around, goes off Schaefer's foot and in. But, after a review, the refs rule Schaefer kicked it in.
FIRST PERIOD, 12:53Ottawa 1, Tampa Bay 0. Wade Redden to Havlat with a nice breakout pass. Havlat to Peter Schaefer in front of the net for a tap-in. This is a well-oiled offensive machine.
FIRST PERIOD, 10:30With Ottawa on the power play, Martin Havlat attempts a rush but is met by a Tampa defenceman and held up. It looked like it could have been a penalty but, for some reason, the alleged anti-obstruction New NHL still allows defencemen to block like offensive lineman when forwards shoot the puck around them and try to retrieve it. I don't know why this is still allowed. Shouldn't defencemen have to at least turn around and pretend to be going after the puck?
Sorry. Had to get that off my chest.