March 20, 2009
Ruutu gets a ribbing
By DON BRENNAN, SUN MEDIA
In the words of Bob Barker, "(starting Carey) Price (was) wrong, b----."
"Why did you have to score a goal like that?" Senators GM Bryan Murray asked, teasing Jarkko Ruutu as the winger was surrounded by reporters following a wildly entertaining, 5-4 victory over the Montreal Canadiens. "That made them take that goalie from the net and then we had to face the other guy!"
It did make things tougher on the home team, for sure.
In fact, Ottawa's winning streak (six straight at home, 7-of-8 overall) may have very well been interrupted had Bob Gainey used Jaroslav Halak (24 saves, one goal against) from the opening faceoff instead of having him relieve Price (11 saves, four goals against) in a huge game for the Habs.
Instead, the Senators' extremely slim playoff hopes gained another pound. They now just have to win 12 more in a row to have a chance.
"It was just a goal," Ruutu shrugged of the great individual effort that saw him beat a defender by dragging the puck between his own legs, then roof a backhand through a very small window past Price. "That was the only opening I had, so I had to put it off the post and in."
Nothing to it, right?
Only an extremely confident and carefree collection would even be trying moves like that made by Jason Spezza (on his first goal) and Ruutu. Other such entertaining manoeuvres just failed to click.
Maybe they should start playing Sweet Georgia Brown for their warm-ups.
Starts and stops
Still think Spezza and Dany Heatley belong on the bench when the other team has its goalie pulled for an extra attacker. The Senators were clinging to the one-goal lead when Spezza, thinking hat trick, tried to stickhandle out of his own zone in the last minute, only to be stopped at the blue line. A couple of seconds later, Heatley had a chance to clear the zone, but his weak flip shot didn't make it past the point man. Finally, a diving Ryan Shannon blocked a shot with his shin pads to get the puck out of danger ... Brendan Bell followed up his first two-goal game with a double-double. He drew two assists and made two strong defensive plays on Tom Kostopoulos, with the second quickly turning into a Christoph Schubert breakaway ... Before he started taking his nightly beating, Nick Foligno had one goal (his 15th of the season) and a clear-cut breakaway stymied by a magnificent Price save. And the game was not yet four minutes old.
Things I think I think
Mike Comrie must have taken a turn for the worse, as he was more "questionable" for Tuesday's game than he was last night. "Yeah, he's got the flu," confirmed Mike Fisher. "He FLEW to L.A." With friends like that, eh? ... Price was caught sharing a giggle with Guillaume Latendresse on the Montreal bench after Latendresse's second goal, which was a bad one on Brian Elliott. Thing is, it came just 7:36 after Price was yanked for giving up his fourth goal. After that performance, methinks he shouldn't be laughing again until Monday ... Christopher Higgins skated to the bench, with arms outstretched and a look of dismay, after Chris Campoli got away with slashing his stick in two pieces without being called for a penalty. Maybe the officials felt Campoli was owed one for having his stick slashed from his hands by Pittsburgh's Matt Cooke on the play that led to Tyler Kennedy's goal Saturday.
Elliott set a new Senators record for most consecutive wins (seven) by a rookie goalie, breaking the previous mark he shared with Jani Hurme. Elliott, who now has a 14-4-3 record, did not have his best game. "Like the old Grant Fuhr days ... just don't let that last one beat you," said coach Cory Clouston, showing his Alberta roots. Little earlier in the day I might have had a quicker comeback. Something like: "Fuhr? Oh, you mean the former Toronto goalie?" ... Senators assistant coach Luke Richardson will have his old No. 21 retired by the Ottawa West Golden Knights Jr. B's prior to Monday's playoff game at Barbara Ann Scott Arena against the Carleton Place Kings. No word yet on to what number current Knights forward Cameron McNutt is now going to wear, or what Big Luke gave him to agree to give up 21 ... As far as the other Eastern Conference playoffs, the 67's will chill the IceDogs in five as Corey Cowick rediscovers his scoring touch ... Also like Sudbury (which is close to North Bay) to upset Belleville.
How is it there aren't more fights in the stands when the Habs or Leafs visit? If I was a passionate Senators fan cheering on my team at Scotiabank Place and some clown in a funny jersey beside me was booing whenever Daniel Alfredsson touched the puck, it wouldn't take long before I'd punch him in the teeth ... As the last second ticked off the clock to end the second period, Alfredsson took a slap shot from centre ice at the Montreal net. Only because Scott Niedermayer wasn't around to shoot at .... Latendresse would have had four goals by the end of the second period if not for two outstanding, glove/arm saves by Elliott ... Bell would have had the third assist, if there was such a thing, on Spezza's first goal ... Americans Shannon and Foligno were asked for their March Madness pick to win it all. "We both went with N.C.," Foligno said. Shannon wasn't going along with that story. "I've got Binghamton to go all the way," said the former Baby Senator. At press time, the Bearcats had not yet been eliminated. But their game against Duke didn't start until 9:40 p.m., either.