Saturday, June 2, 2007
Senators able to put more pressure on Ducks
By E.J. Hradek ESPN The Magazine
OTTAWA -- Quick Hits from Game 3 of the Stanley Cup finals:
• The Senators managed to get more shots at Ducks goalie Jean-Sebastien Giguere in Game 3, outshooting their opponent 29-22. The Sens had managed just 36 shots in the first two games in Anaheim.
Lyndon Slewidge got the Ottawa crowd going before the start of Saturday's Game 3.
• It wasn't a great night for either goalie, but Ottawa stopper Ray Emery made an acrobatic stick stop on a short-handed scoring chance by Todd Marchant at the 4:10 mark of the third period that preserved the Senators' 4-3 lead.
On the play, Marchant came down the ice on a semi-breakaway. He shoveled a shot at Emery, who made the stop. However, the puck caromed off the Sens' goalie and back toward the empty net. In a flash, Emery wheeled around and swatted the puck out of harm's way with his stick. If that puck gets into the net, the game is tied and we could have been looking at an entirely different situation.
• Senators winger Patrick Eaves, the son of University of Wisconsin coach Mike Eaves, was a healthy scratch for his second straight game. Still, Eaves' No. 44 jersey did see some playing time in the second period. Senators center Jason Spezza had to "borrow" Eaves' sweater after his was torn in a scrum with Ducks center Samuel Pahlsson. Spezza and Pahlsson both received roughing penalties on the play.
During the penalty, Spezza went to the dressing room to have his jersey repaired/replaced. He reemerged from the dressing room wearing Eaves' jersey. He went to the box to serve the remainder of his penalty, then came back onto the ice and skated a shift wearing Eaves' jersey. After returning to the bench, the Senators equipment staff had a new repaired sweater for Spezza.
• In the buildup to Game 3, Ottawa coach Bryan Murray talked about his team's need to do better in the faceoff circle. In particular, he said his wingers had to do a better job of getting into the circle to help gain loose pucks. Murray credited the Ducks wingers with doing a good job of winning those tight battles. Early in Game 3 off a faceoff in the Ducks' zone, Anaheim right winger Rob Niedermayer continued that trend by pushing past Ottawa right winger Chris Neil to get to a puck after Sens center Antoine Vermette had won a draw from Pahlsson. Those are the little plays that often lead to much bigger ones.
• Anaheim defenseman Francois Beauchemin didn't get credit for an assist on the Ducks' first goal -- a power-play tally by center Andy McDonald -- but he created the opportunity by pinching down the right-wing wall. Beauchemin's aggressive play stopped Senators center Mike Fisher from clearing the puck out of the zone. Fisher attempted to backhand the puck up the wall and out, but his clearing attempt hit Beauchemin's skate and caromed back into the corner. Ducks winger Teemu Selanne pounced on the loose puck, moved behind the net on his forehand and made a nice pass to McDonald, who was moving down the slot. McDonald finished the play with a quick wrist shot over the right pad of goalie Emery.
• The Senators' oldest fan (as far as we can tell), 99-year-old Russell Williams, was among the 20,500 in attendance at Scotiabank Place for Game 3. Williams hoped to bring his team some good luck. He witnessed the Senators' last Stanley Cup victory in 1927.
• The NHL is bringing pop star and Ottawa native Alanis Morissette to Scotiabank Place to sing the national anthems before Monday's Game 4. She'll have a tough act to follow after the job that Ontario Provincial Police Constable Lyndon Slewidge did prior to Game 3. Slewidge is the house singer for the Senators. He did a great job with "The Star Spangled Banner" before offering a rousing version of "O Canada." The packed crowd joined Slewidge for the Canadian anthem and fans passed a monster-sized Canadian flag (it stretched two full sections long and about 12 rows high) across the upper bowl. The huge red-and-white flag moved body-surfing style across the crowd.
E.J. Hradek covers hockey for ESPN The Magazine. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Also, click here to send E.J. a question for possible use on ESPNEWS.