For the second time in a row and third time in the last four games, Ottawa lost. It was most disappointing tonight because the Sens were up 2-0 and 5-3 over Pittsburgh at different times in the game, and still blew it.
It would seem the Sens are so generous that they're losing games to teams with front office staff on the chopping block. With a loss to the Capitals on Nov. 8, our considerate guys delayed the inevitable firing of head coach Glen Hanlon, although not for long (he got fired Nov. 22). Dropping a game 3-0 to Toronto has further delayed the firings of Paul Maurice and John Ferguson Jr. And finally tonight, losing to Pittsburgh has given Michel Therien a stay of execution. And you know what? It's all well and good to be charitable once in a while, but sometimes you have to think about your own record.
Martin Gerber did not play his best game. He did play well at times, especially at the end of the game to keep it 5-5. I'm not certain you can blame The Gerber for any of the goals, but he certainly didn't do anything outstanding. He was also as angry as I've ever heard him after the game, explaining the rulebook to the referees and off-ice officials regarding the shootout; Erik Christensen's shot was initially stopped, and that is (apparently) when the play should stop, whether the shooter or the tender knocks the puck in.
For some reason, after the Sens went up 2-0 in the first (chasing Marc-Andre Fleury from the net in the meantime), coach John Paddock screwed up with the lines, and that may very well have opened up the door for a Penguin comeback.
Jason Spezza and Dany Heatley played well. Spetzky tripled his goal total on the season (he now has three) and added an assist, while Heater scored a nice goal; both were +1 when all was said and done.
Then there's Daniel Alfredsson, who notched three assists. Awesome. But in the overtime period, Alfie aggravated his groin. The extent of his injury is not yet known, and he's apparently going to sleep on it to see how it feels, but here's to hoping he's just fine. With Randy Robitaille and Patrick Eaves already injured, we don't need another guy off the roster, especially not one as valuable to this team as the captain.
With regards to the Sputnik watch: regrettable game for Alexander Nikulin, although not because he played poorly, simply unfortunate circumstances in which he found himself. After Wade Redden and Andrej Meszaros both pinched into the offensive zone, Nikulin was left as the last man back to defend against Evgeni Malkin on a 1-on-1. No offense to Sputnik, but it was a bit of a mismatch, and it showed (Malkin smoked him and scored on The Gerber off a breakaway). In the end, Sputnik finished -2 in just over five minutes of ice time, and I don't think he had an opportunity to redeem himself in the second or third periods. I do hope Paddock gives him another chance next game, though, because he's got some potential.
Speaking of Redden and Meszaros, they both played good games (aside from the aforementioned play). One assist each, Reds was +1, and Samson (thus called because without his locks of hair, Meszaros is powerless--see last season) was even on plus/minus.
You know what else was weird? How well Shean Donovan was playing before Paddock made him ride the pine for the last half of the game. I guess it was because he got three penalties, but the refereeing was questionable all night (Stephan Auger, consider yourself on notice). Oh yeah, Joe Corvo played a pretty good game, too.
I think that every time Colby Armstrong steps on the ice I hate him more. I guess that's his job, but holy crap I might hate him even more than anyone else in the league this side of Steve Downie--and yes, that includes Darcy Tucker. After that hit on Eaves in the playoffs last year, and the fact that he's so damned ugly really doesn't help his case.
In the shootout... I don't really want to talk about it. Sweet goal from Spezza on the first shot, then a bogus goal by Christensen, and after Heatley and Dean McAmmond both hit the post, Jarkko Ruutu scores the winner. How embarassing.