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George Zoran
Top Prospect

55 Posts

Posted - 12/14/2005 :  09:03:32  Show Profile
The Ottawa Senators, arguably the best team in the NHL, finally made their way out west. For most they are the obvious choice to go to the finals. They have been tearing apart the defense of every opponent they face and scoring at a pace not seen since the Edmonton Oilers of the 1980’s. The Alfredsson – Spezza – Heatley line has taken over as the NHL’s most dangerous combination, having amassed 51 goals and 125 points through the Sens first 25 games.

The Senators finally got a taste of the western conference and didn’t fare as well as most would have thought. Friday in Vancouver, the Canucks badly outplayed the Senators and won 3-2 in a shootout. The Sens were out shot 38-23 and if not for Dominik Hasek, the score could have been 8-2.

Saturday in Calgary, the Senators put forth a much better effort than in Vancouver, but still ended up on the wrong side of the score sheet. Calgary’s tough checkers shut down the Senators top line and managed to tie the game with a few minutes left and then win it in overtime.

With the Alfredsson line shut down in back to back games for the first time this season, things were not looking good.

The Senators finally brought it on Monday in Colorado with a decisive 6-2 win over the Avalanche. Hasek was huge and the big line minus one Jason Spezza (groin injury) recorded 1 goal and 5 assists.

Many feel that the eastern conference is more wide open than the west while others feel the west is just better. However, it is difficult to compare with the NHL’s new scheduling philosophy in place where teams play each division rival an outrageous eight times and rarely see teams from the other conference. Hopefully the league reconsiders this for next season - out west we would love to see a lot more of the Senators.

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Donald Beckett
Top Prospect

88 Posts

Posted - 12/16/2005 :  09:48:48  Show Profile
One line team. With Hasek they will put together a good playoff run but I don't think they will win the cup like everyone is predicting.
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PickupHockey Pro

364 Posts

Posted - 12/19/2005 :  00:02:43  Show Profile
Originally posted by Donald Beckett

One line team. With Hasek they will put together a good playoff run but I don't think they will win the cup like everyone is predicting.

Why not? In the past they were knocked because they didn't have the toughness. They have it now with Chara, Neil and McGratton. And besides, in this new league, toughness is a little over-rated. But we'll see, they always seem have a good regular season and bomb out in the playoffs. This year feels different though, now with a truly solid 1st line (thanks to Heatley) they are no longer playing like Toronto's inferior cousin. They seem confident, which is something they have lacked in years gone by. Assuming they stay healthy, if they can get past the 1st round the cup will probably be theirs.
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