Emery's net worth takes a hit

CHRIS STEVENSON -- Ottawa Sun

, Last Updated: 11:08 AM ET

There was only one sound in Scotiabank Place in the minutes after the end had come so swiftly.

It sounded like far off fireworks, but it was people breaking those annoying, inflated Thundersticks after the Senators' 7-6 overtime loss to the Buffalo Sabres in Game 1 of their Eastern Conference semi-final.

Fans might have been forgiven if the sound was mistaken for the echos of Ray Emery's bubble bursting.

You knew that night was going to arrive at some point, didn't you?

Ever since we heard the word "adductor" and "Dominik Hasek" in the same sentence, you knew this night was coming.

Emery gave up seven goals on just 23 shots.

That the Senators goaltender had a bad night was inevitable; it happens. New Jersey Devils goaltender Martin Brodeur had a bad afternoon yesterday.

But Emery's a rookie and he's replacing the future Hall of Famer who's supposed to be delivering a Stanley Cup, so even the slightest wobble is going to be viewed by wide eyes by the Senators faithful.

Now Senators fans have to contemplate these two big questions:

1. Was Emery's Game 1 performance, as he said, "just one of those nights," or was it something worse, something more foreboding?

We've seen Emery have bad nights before. It happens. He skidded before the Olympic break and righted himself nicely afterwards and went on to set an NHL record with 12 wins in March. The problem now, of course, is there is little or no time to right yourself. Two bad games in a row is the difference between winning and losing a series at this time of year.

2. So, just how is The Dominator's adductor doing, anyway?

Not that Emery is solely responsible for the Game 1 debacle. He's the one on the highlights with the puck in the net behind him, but he didn't get much help from his friends.

Anybody seen Andrej Meszaros lately?

Not the one making bad pinches and giving opponents way too much time and space when they cross the Ottawa blue line.

Where did the one who led the league in plus-minus for most of the season go?

POOR DECISIONS

He has looked very much like a rookie in these playoffs. His calm and assured play has been replaced by hesitancy and poor decisions.

He made a bad pinch on the short-handed goal by Buffalo's Derek Roy. Partner Wade Redden, who spent much of the night scrambling in odd-man situations, wound up -4 on the night (it was an eventful night for Redden -- he was on the ice for nine of the 13 goals).

Defenceman Anton Volchenkov might have been a victim of some fresh, sticky ice in the overtime when he lost control of the puck, then overskated it, then didn't know where it was.

A couple of seconds later, Sabres forward Chris Drury beat Emery to the shortside for the winner.

Where were Emery's teammates looking when Sabres forward Tim Connolly darted behind the Ottawa net after a loose puck with a little more than 10 seconds left in the third period and the Senators nursing a 6-5 lead?

Defenceman Zdeno Chara had a good look at it.

A couple seconds later, that one was in, too.

It will be easy for the losers of such a game to brush it off as just one game.

True, it's just one game, but the inescapable truth at this time of year is it is not one game of 82, but one of four or seven or something in between.

One game, but what a game.

You would have thought the Senators would win a shootout with anybody in the league, but they have met their match, especially with Emery coming up with a self-described "embarrassing" performance.

One game, but what a game.

An open, offensive game was expected between these two skilled and fast teams, though the style and substance of Game 1 was over the top.

ONE OF A KIND

The players were hardpressed to remember one like that.

Not just in the NHL playoffs ... ever.

They searched their memories for a game with as many improbable turns as goals.

"I remember a game in junior. It was 9-9 after three periods," Sabres star Daniel Briere said in the aftermath of the win.

"I was playing for Drummondville and (Sabres backup) Martin Biron was playing for Gatineau. Then it went to three overtimes."

Well, in that one, at least, the goalies got good.

Ever been in one like Game 1, Ryan Miller?

"No, never," said the Sabres goaltender. "Four goals in the last two minutes with overtime thrown in? Nope."

Neither goaltender wants to be in another one like that any time soon.

One game, but what a game.

Makes Game 2 tomorrow night interesting, huh?

CHRIS.STEVENSON@OTT.SUNPUB.COM


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