Whacky series a head-scratcher

MORRIS DALLA COSTA, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 9:41 AM ET

WINDSOR -- If you can figure this series out, please feel free to tell someone what it's all about.

Another game, another blown two-goal lead. Another game, another overtime. Another game, another whacky series of events that leaves everyone exiting the rink scratching their heads.

The Windsor Spitfires did it to the London Knights again. Or maybe the Knights did it to themselves again. They had the game in hand with little more than five minutes left in the game, looking at a 2-1 series lead coming home for Game 4.

Instead they lose 5-4 in overtime and go home the same way they did after Game 1, trying to find some way of getting over the loss of a game they should have won.

They'd better win because coming back to Windsor down 3-1 is going to be no treat.

Good teams aren't supposed to blow two-goal leads. London did it in Game 1, Windsor did it three times in Game 2 and London turned the trick yesterday.

How does that happen?

After the game Knights coach Dale Hunter talked about the entertaining nature of the series and that with so many future NHLers on the ice, there's too much talent to contain. "No lead is safe," he said.

The teams have proven that.

But there are a variety of other reasons for this series to be as up-and-down and unpredictable as it's been.

Special teams are one reason. When teams spend as much time in the penalty box as these two have, there's not much of a chance to develop consistency with lines. The power plays are so good they will score. That can immediately change the flow of the game.

With penalties coming in bunches, often a few in a row for the same team, players are forced to kill penalties and teams wear down. The legs get weary later in the game.

The real reason his series is like a turnover is goaltending.

It hasn't been very good for either team.

Flashback to yesterday. The Knights are leading 4-2 late in the third period. A puck comes to Knights goalie Trevor Cann along the post. He can't squeeze it and Adam Henrique somehow squeezes it into the net from a terrible angle.

Flashback to overtime. Eric Wellwood steps over the blueline and from just outside the top of the circle, lets a wristshot go that beats Cann low to the glove side.

Game over.

In case it didn't sink in the first 347,698 times it's been said about the playoffs, you need good goaltending to win.

Give Cann credit. He's a classy kid who didn't hide after the game. He talked about the winner and took responsibility for his play.

"Sudden death, first goal wins . . . you need to make the save," said an obviously disappointed Cann. "He came over the blueline, fired it back . . . I should have had it. It was my fault. I was out of position.

"We played strong tonight. They got one that just snuck through and got another after that. I got to come up big there. I make the save and we're fine from there."

Engelage has had his own issues in this series. He failed to come up with a puck that led to London's second goal and let out a huge rebound for the goal that gave London a 3-2 lead.

But in overtime with John Tavares in front, he stared him down and made a big save.

When you look at the series , the worse case scenario should be that the Knights leading 2-1. But none of that matters because they haven't been able to close out the Spitfires.

Anyone who has seen this series knows the Spitfires are ripe for the picking. They had a lot of their go-to-guys go somewhere and not show up.

But you don't win as many games as Windsor did this season without finding some way to win games when you don't play very well.

That's been the case in this series. Cann knows he needs to be better.

"I can't worry about (confidence). I have to stay level regardless of what happens. You just have to out and play and not worry about it," he said.

Cann also knows he has to forget about the last shot and concentrate on the next one.

And he needs to start stopping it.


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