Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Damien Cox of the Toronto Star,
The Sens only allowed 20 Sabre volleys to be directed at Emery last night, an extraordinarily low total from the NHL’s highest scoring team, and only 10 of those came after Buffalo erased an early 2-0 lead with a goal off the stick of low-scoring defenceman Toni Lydman in the game’s 29th minute that tied the game 2-2.
That, you could argue, was the most important result of last night’s 5-2 Ottawa victory, that an early lead was surrendered and yet the Sens didn’t cave. In the opener of a second-round series between the clubs last year, after all, favoured Ottawa blew a big lead and lost a 7-6 overtime decision from which it really never recovered.
from the Ottawa Sun,
The Senators have accomplished one goal by stealing a game here, but they can take a commanding 2-0 lead home with a victory in Game 2 tomorrow night.
Spezza said the Senators’ next goal is to break an 0-8 playoff record after winning Game 1.
“Now we have a chance to steal two before we go home,” said Spezza. “We just have to get rid of those second-game blues. I know we’re going to talk about that all day (today), so maybe we can finally just shake it.
from Terry Frei at ESPN,
Each of the NHL’s final four teams is battling a burden, fighting a perception, attempting to overcome bad karma that to some extent can add to the otherwise significant pressure.
t’s one more reason that when the Sabres, Senators, Ducks or Red Wings gather on the ice with the Stanley Cup and pose for the celebratory picture, they will have passed the most testing playoff process in sports.
from Bruce Garrioch of the Ottawa Sun,
“I want to beat Lindy Ruff. He wants to beat me. Our players want to beat their players.
“You have to be competitive people. You have to be willing to battle at all levels to be successful. I’m too old to hate people at this point unless they write bad stuff about me. I just think we’ve got to do everything we can do to get an edge to win the series and I think that’s what both teams will try to do.”
WGR Radio in Buffalo has created “The Ottawa Song”.
from Don Brennan of the Ottawa Sun,
For someone that has only played in eight post-season games, the goalie’s record is very impressive.
In Gerber’s first year with Anaheim, the Ducks made it to the Stanley Cup finals.
In his first year with Carolina, the Hurricanes made it to the finals.
And now, in his first year with the Senators, they are but a step away.
He’s been nothing more than the backup ‘tender in each case, but with Gerber on their side, their elimination of the Sabres would seem to be a mere formality.
from Wes Goldstein at CBS Sportsline,
In other words, these are teams that don’t really like each other and have a pretty good idea what lies ahead. Still, don’t expect things on the ice to get out of hand no matter how much tempers might flare. With a trip to the Stanley Cup dance on the line, something that Ottawa has never been part of and Buffalo missed by one game last season, getting even isn’t really a primary concern.
“I don’t think it’s a factor,” Sabres coach Lindy Ruff. “That might be in the background, but there’s a lot of other stuff that’s going to take the forefront over that. The big prize is one team is to go on to play for the Stanley Cup. Penalties for retaliation for something that happened a couple of months ago, if you’re going to take those at this time of year, then I think your mindset is in the wrong place.”
from Red Fisher of the Montreal Gazette,
The Buffalo Sabres finished No. 1 overall during the regular season with inoa franchise-high 113 points. The Detroit Red Wings matched them. Anaheim, with 110 points, led the Pacific Division. Ottawa, after a terrible first half, finished with 105 points, only two behind New Jersey.
Get the picture? No surprises. In a league that almost always delivers upsets during the playoffs, it’s only right that the NHL’s Big Four have made it to the finals in the East and West.
Now the fun really begins.
from Loose Change at the Hockey News,
And all we wanted was the Detroit Red Wings to (a) embrace their spineless-ly Poker-ish ways and fold early and (b) realize that two of their key cogs in the bid for a championship were, at one time, deck hands on The Ark. Now you have the Red Wings getting unexpectedly vital contributions from players with names ending in “son”, “ov”, “berg” and “Datsyuk” and they really have this belief that a route to the Cup doesn’t necessarily require taking the Yzerman Parkway.
more on all of the teams in the CF…
from Don Brennan of the Ottawa Sun,
The Sabres coach was quick and sharp when asked about comments made by Ray Emery, who said in Tuesday’s Sun that he’s not thrilled about having to spend off-days in Buffalo and joked on TSN’s Off The Record that he might pass his spare time this week hanging out at TGI Friday’s.
“He’ll find things to do,” Ruff said with a chuckle after the Sabres practiced yesterday.
“Rent a Hummer truck ... go for a ride, go for a drive, drive around a little bit.”
more on the Sens/Sabres…
About Kukla's Korner Hockey
Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.
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