Wednesday, December 12, 2007

What a game! Sens 6, Canes 0

Wow, that was a game that sent a message to the league that these guys are ready to play. And it probably simultaneously sent a message that Carolina is not as good as advertised.

Pretty strange game to watch, everything considered. We had a winning team switch goalies, a fight which included a head-butt, pucks bouncing beyond belief, and, at one time, a line which consisted of Dany Heatley, Jason Spezza, and Brian McGrattan.

Obviously, Heatley and Spezza--with three points each--both had great games. They looked to be toying with the Hurricanes at times, and Spezza even got into it with Erik Cole at one point (and gave Cole some pretty good shots, too). Obviously, in a 6-0 game, a lot of players had great games. I'm going to focus on a few: McGrattan, Martin Gerber, Dean McAmmond, and Mike Fisher, all of whom played exceptionally well.

To start off with, Grats got some ice time. Coach John Paddock must have read this blog and realized that McGrattan is indeed useful in moderation, but useless when he's sitting on the bench. In just over five minutes of ice time, McGrattan scored an assist (albeit a lucky one) and, although shoddy NHL statistics don't show it, had a couple of hits and skated harder than I've ever seen him backchecking in the first period. At one point, as mentioned, he was alongside Spetzky and Heater, in my opinion to ensure no one took liberties with our top guns (Notable point: When Grats was up there, Randy Robitaille was demoted to the fourth line).

The goaltending situation was... interesting. While, as Ben pointed out, Ray Emery started the game, he had suffered some hip injury earlier in the week and decided after five minutes of Senators dominance that it wasn't worth the risk to stay in the net. The Gerber came in to relieve Rayzor, and played exceptionally--which was great to see, after his last few disappointing starts. He always seems to play his best against the Hurricanes, and if Emery is unable to start tomorrow night, hopefully The Gerber will be able to continue this against the Penguins. He stopped all 31 shots he faced, including some great saves, and--to demonstrate his confidence--scored an assist when he blockered the puck to Spezza, who knocked it to Heatley, who schooled Canes tender Cam Ward. For his efforts, though, The Gerber only receives a shared shutout; since Emery was on the ice for the game-winner, he gets the win, and they both get a shutout with an asterisk. If Emery isn't able to play, it's distinctly possible that Brian Elliott will be on his way from Binghamton tonight.

Deaner was back tonight. And, I'm not a doctor of hockeyology or anything, but I think it might have something to do with the fact that he logged over 10 minutes of ice time. M-C-Ammer notched a great assist by making Eric Staal (who skated right past the puck) look like an idiot and dishing the puck to Shean Donovan in the slot. Shean Don roofed it, and that made it 5-0. D-Mac (yes, that is a third nickname) also scored a goal, but it was a fluke that Ward directed into McAmmond's chest, and then it bounced in.

Finally... Mike Fisher. He was a beast, albeit a good-looking one (at least according to my sources, or every woman I know). The goal he scored was just pure determination, muscling past the Canes defender and lifting it over Ward in what probably was the defining point in the game. If that wasn't the defining point, though, it was Fish absolutely demolishing Scott Walker at the beginning of the second period. After Hartnell blatantly ran over The Gerber, Fish the Dish added a second dimension to his nickname and dished out some serious rights into the left side of Walker's face. Leaving Walker battered, bloody, and embarassed, Fisher was then headbutted and hit with a cheap left after the linesmen had broken up the fight. Real classy move, Walker. Have fun explaining that one to the disciplinary committee of the NHL.

All in all... the best game in a while, and of of the most exciting of the year. A great game to have on TSN, and Glenn Healy didn't even ruin it too badly.
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