"NOW DO YOU BELIEVE?!?!"
Yes, Jeanneret, I do believe. I believe that whatever the Sabres throw at the Senators--an early two-goal deficit, a heartbreaking game-tying goal with six seconds left, constant bitching about penalty calls--that these Senators can respond in kind, and win the game.
Game Two of the Eastern-Conference Quarter-Final game was just straight-up an incredible game. Even if the Sens had lost, these teams are soooo good that it doesn't matter who wins, it's going to be an awesome game. I was thinking when Ottawa was down 2-1 how bad I would feel for enjoying this game whether or not the Sens won. It was even better when the Sens won.
Apparently Bryan Murray is taking my advice and giving the fourth line more ice time, and they had another great game. Oleg Saprykin drew yet another penalty, setting up the Sens for a five-on-three power play on which the Sens would take their 3-2 lead.
How does a team allow a game-tying goal with six seconds left, and then bounce right back and completely carry the play throughout overtime? It was outstanding, and Buffalo had no business winning that game.
I think that I will send a thank-you letter to John Paddock and CC both Joe Corvo and Jason Spezza on it. According to Murray, it was Senators Assistant Coach Paddock's idea to put Corvo on the ice with Wade Redden after the Sabres' iced the puck in the second overtime, and the decision paid off. When Spezza pulled out an incredible faceoff win, the puck came right back to Corvo. After 'cupping his stick' so the puck wouldn't go a mile high, and then with a few bounces and deflections, Corvo scored that amazing goal that is now etched in our collective memories.
Credit also must go to Ray Emery, who made an absolutely incredible skate-blade save to keep the Sabres from taking a 3-2 lead in the third. Outstanding. More cred to Anton Volchenkov, who laid some track and gave Jason Pominville a ride on the A-Train, next stop: your face hitting the ice.
Potential tactical error for Jack Adams Trophy nominee Lindy Ruff. The coach of the Buffalo Sabres apparently laid the blame for that last goal on goaltender Ryan Miller. How is any goaltender supposed to make that save; there's no way to know where the puck is going. Ruff said something akin to "That's a save you hope Miller makes," insinuating that he should have made the save. Maybe the blame is more appropriate to lay on Chris Drury, for losing the faceoff; or maybe Ales Kotalik, for not sliding to block the shot; or maybe not blame your team, since they played amazingly well, and simply got outplayed.
With two game-winners from two recent acquisitions, a lot of John Muckler haters have to be eating their words. I'm not going to lie, I was pretty skeptical at the start of this season when Ottawa was struggling, but Saprykin and Corvo have made a lot of folks--those ones who said he was old and senile--start to wonder whether he knows what he's doing. So... yeah.
So now the Sens take their 2-0 series lead back home to Ottawa. Boy, did Miller ever look rattled in that post-game interview... for the sake of the Sens, I hope he isn't his best, but for the sake of all hockey fans who are loving this amazing series, I hope he bounces back. Although not at his best, just good enough to keep the games close. Ottawa can win by 3-4 goals, any more is a blowout.
GO SENS GO.