Saturday, April 21, 2007

Ottawa Senators Eastern Conference Semi-Final Opponent Watch, day one

Right now, there are two possibilities for next round:

If New Jersey wins: Ottawa plays the Devils starting off in New Jersey in round two.
If Tampa Bay wins: The Sens play the Rangers with the first game in Ottawa.

Buffalo defeats New York Islanders 4-3, wins series 4-1

With this win, we know we won't be playing the New York Islanders. It was a (technical) possibility if the Isles were able to come back and win the series and the Lightning won their series against the Devils, but now we know it won't happen. There is also no possible way that the Sens will play the Sabres in the second round.

Of note in the Sabres/Isles decisive game: Former Ottawa Senators Sean Hill, Alexei Yashin, and Mike Sillinger were all factors for the Isles in their first-round defeat. Hill, as we have seen, missed the series-clinching game in the first of his twenty-game suspension for violation of the league's substance-abuse policy, after playing a significant part in the Isles run to the playoffs and in the first-round escapades. His presence on defence was certainly missed, given the fact that his replacement (Drew Fata) was -2 on the night. Sillinger was dominant for most of the series in the face-off circle, winning something like 70 per cent of the draws. He wasn't so impressive in game five (56 per cent), but still won more than he lost. Yashin, I think, had a decent series. Was he worth $9 million? No, but he actually showed some resilience and worked well with Viktor Kozlov. Watch out next year if Garth Snow can get some decent defencemen on the Islanders team.

New Jersey defeats Tampa Bay 3-0, leads series 3-2

If the series ends with New Jersey defeating Tampa Bay, Ottawa will face off against the Devils in the next round. This will give home-ice advantage to Jersey, with games three, four, and potentially six coming to the Bank (i.e. Scotiabank Place). If Tampa Bay pulls off the win, the Sens will have home-ice advantage and host the New York Rangers in round two. Time will tell, but if Martin Brodeur's play was any indication, it seems like he is once again deciding that he wants to win. When Brodeur wants to win, it'll take more than an apparently exhausted one-line team to defeat him.
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