“Bettman has only a marginal interest in the weaker teams. He only wants the NHL to make a bigger profit as a whole.” -- Dominik Hasek

May 31, 2007

Checking Line To The Rescue

One of the most well-known assumptions in playoff hockey is that defense wins games, not offense. The Anaheim Ducks are certainly proving that in this year's Stanley Cup Finals against Ottawa. Not only has their checking line scored the game-winner in the first two games of the series, but they have also totally neutralized the Senators' biggest scoring threats.

Arguably the best offensive line in all of the NHL, the Senators' Jason Spezza, Dany Heatley and captain Daniel Alfredsson, have been completely shut down so far in this series. Even worse, instead of scoring goals, they're now turning over the puck under pressure, creating the few scoring chances that the Ducks need to eek out close wins.

In Game 2
, it was Heatley's mistake that led to Samuel Pahlsson's game-winner, a quick wrister past turned-around defensman Joe Corvo and into the net behind goalie Ray Emery. Emery had a solid night, making 30 saves. With no goal support from the boys in front of him, though, the lone goal he allowed was enough to decide the game. Thems the breaks.

Back to the point about turnovers: the "HAS" line became the "has not" line, responsible for eleven of Ottawa's 21 turnovers in the game. Alfredsson alone gave up the puck six times. His line was also held to just six shots on goal, two each by him, Heatley and Spezza.

Speaking of shots, Ducks goalie Jean-Sebastian Giguere only faced 16 of them total, some of them point-blank and through traffic, and recorded his first postseason shutout of this year. Rumor has it that he also called Alfredsson's mother a hamster and said his father smelled of elderberries.

Game 3 is in Ottawa, which is probably good news for the Senators. California knows how to party, but the Sens don't look like they were invited.


hockeychic said...

Funny post! Love the Python references. Ottawa has to score on those 5 on 3 oppurtunities. Where is the big line? They are trying to skate through Anaheim's D and it is not working. Murray seems to be getting outcoahced. I really hate watching Brad May have a good series.

A friend sent me a scary (if you are a Sens fan) stat today, the team that has won the first two SCF games has gone on to win the Cup 29 out of 30 times. Yikes!

Dear Lord Stanley said...

The odds are now definitely stacked in Anaheim's favor. Nothing short of an offensive explosion by Ottawa's top line will be necessary to put them back in this series.

Teebz said...

Gotta say... this post says it all. At this rate, Sami Pahlsson is the Conn Smythe winner. And that's highly disappointing.

Dear Lord Stanley said...

Not for Pahlsson!

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