Sens vs Pens

After recovering from the roller coaster ride of following the Toronto Maple Leafs series against the Boston Bruins, I woke up the day after the 7th game collapse by the ‘Blueshirts’ and realized, geez there is more hockey to follow! So I now turn my attention to another series which is featuring our last and only hope of having an Canadian team reach the pinnacle, the Stanley Cup, and that being the Ottawa Senators (I know how could you, you’re a Leaf Fan right!?) but I have a job to do here ok.

So then I see who they are up against…yikes….the Pittsburgh Penguins, a powerhouse of a team and the favorites to win the whole  ’kit ‘n’ kaboodle’  and I think to myself, wow I can really pick them can’t I.

Oh well it’s hockey what does it matter, we will see some great play among these two teams as they have done battle in the past which has turned ugly in some respects (Cooke’s hit on Karlsson, need we say more).

Before we go any further here I liked to break down the before and after the series actually starts, well kind of. What I mean is here is Preview prior to last nights game and then the Coach’s take after game one, make sense, clear as mud right?

So let’s get at it.

Series Preview

-The Pens beat the Senators in all 3 games this season, maybe a advantage there. Both clubs have meant before in the playoffs, all in the first round- Sens won in 2007 and the Pens took 2008 and 2010.

- Both clubs had interesting first rounds this year. Pens had to be careful of the Islanders as those pesky NYI guys were a goal away from taking the Penguins to game 7. While the Senators played the arch rivals Montreal Canadiens who were 2nd seeded going into the first round only to collapse like a cheap suitcase and fold to the Sens in 5 games.

- With Ottawa having a few days off their goaltending looks to be top notch with Craig Anderson coming around, while the Pens seem to be playing musical chairs with their ‘protectors of the twines’, as Tomas Vokoun has emerged to be the favorite to play over  Marc-Andre Fleury who seems to be struggling.  Vokoun Ottawa

- On the offensive side of things….no question Pittsburgh has this won but if Coach MacLean can convince the Sens to play his style instead of watching the ‘Stars’ of the Pens then you might see some surprising outcomes. But I’m still taking the Pens in 6.

Game 1 Recap

- They say speed and special teams will kill you in the playoffs, if that’s the case then I announce the Ottawa Senators clinically dead! With some undisciplined play by Ottawa the Pens took advantage of 2 out of 3 power plays plus just to add insult into it all they scored a shorthanded goal as well. Here is what Coach MacLean said, ” We took 3 minor penalties in the game and they took advantage of two of them, that’s to their credit, obviously their PP is clicking at 33%, so we can’t do that” (I love these guy, you have to understand his humour)

- Really playing 5 on 5 the Sens looked fine against the offensively stacked Penguins but time will tell.

- Just a couple of glaring points that I look at throughout a game and they are hits, faceoffs, giveaways and blocked shots. You see below that the Ottawa team will need to work on some things over the next couple of days.

Sens               Pens

PP                    0/5                 2/4    *Lots of work to do for Ottawa

Hits                  26                   40      * a little surprised at this stat

F/O                  31                    26      * pretty even

Giveaways     4                      4        * no surprises here

Blocked Sh     6                     18       * making Vokoun look good

Luckily the Senators do have a couple of days off before game two on Friday night, so  they can review some game tape and work out the kinks, because if they don’t then our only hope of a Canadian team in the finals will be just that a hope.

Until next time.

See you after the game,

Coach Nye