I will not panic. I've heard around the rink (the internet rink) that this is the dreaded Stanley Cup Finals syndrome finally catching up to the Sens. And if so, I'm glad. To get some of these loses out of the way and forge a better team now is probably best for the team in the long run.
However, the 4-3 loss to the Philadelphia Flyers on Saturday night was ugly. It appeared that the Sens, who had a very light schedule during their winning streak, are now being bogged down by the repetition of playing nearly every-other night.
Playing without Daniel Alfredsson obviously impacted the team as they lacked the offensive spark that the Spalfedheat line usually brings. In particular, Jason Spezza was not his normal no-look-drop-pass self. Even Dany Heatley's awesome slapshot goal lacked some creativity (now I'm really nitpicking).
Martin Gerber let in a couple of weak goals, but so did Antero Niittymaki, so let's cut Darth Gerber some slack, and not put the loss entirely on his shoulders. On the plus side, Ray Emery allowed only one goal in his half-game of work. All things considered, however, the goaltending situation for the Sens is significantly less rosy than it was a week ago.
After switching Gerber out, I thought the Sens could have pulled the game together into a win. Apparantly, the spark was missing against Philly, and not even a solid game by Wade Redden could bring it back.
I expect this to be the last we'll see of the now-famous Black Mask - you heard it here first.