Might as well start Dom

CHRIS STEVENSON -- Ottawa Sun

, Last Updated: 9:11 AM ET

BUFFALO -- It's all over but the frying. You would think this would get easier, writing about another Senators' Heimlich alert in the spring, but it doesn't.

Here we are again, having to try and explain again why a Senators team which was so much fun to watch during the regular season, which defined the "new' NHL for most of the year, winds up looking like the same old Senators and now sits on the edge of being swept by the Buffalo Sabres.

Don't take anything away from the Sabres.

They've played up to their potential.

The Senators have looked and played scared.

They played like a team that believed it couldn't afford to give up a scoring chance.

So, does Dominik Hasek lead his team onto the ice tonight?

This is supposed to be what he's here for, right?

What's the downside? He gets hurt again?

When you are in an 0-3 hole, miracles are what you need.

Well, a miracle and four shutouts given the difficulty the Senators have had scoring goals in the last couple of games in this series.

Hear and there:

Guess Senators coach Bryan Murray is going to have to dust off his comeback story today. His Rockland Nats were down 3-0 to a team from Guelph in the second round of the Centennial Cup playdowns in 1975. They came back to win. It's a story involving an exotic dancer (sometimes you just need something to take your mind off your plight, I guess) and a bunch of guys who wouldn't quit. Can anybody recommend an establishment devoted to the dancing arts in the Buffalo area? ... Senators captain Daniel Alfredsson still can't believe his potential winner hit the post to the right of Sabres G Ryan Miller as regulation time ran out. "He was off his angle. I had come down five minutes earlier and tried to go high glove. This time he was covering that," said Alfredsson. "It was just one inch too much to the left."... That chance was set up by Alfredsson winning a race to cancel an icing call against Ottawa ... It was an eventful night for the captain as he supplied one of the exciting moments of the first period, firing a pass into the middle of the Sabres zone two minutes into the game that was picked off for a breakaway by Buffalo's Maxim Afinogenov.

The buzz:

How big are the Sabres here right now? Before the game, I was talking to a guy in line at a hot dog stand outside the rink. He and his wife were just hanging out, taking in the atmosphere and then were heading over to Dunn Tire Park, where the Triple-A Bisons play, a couple of blocks over, where they were going to show the game last night on the big screen. They were expecting a few thousand people for the game there, he said. I guess they would draw more at their Triple-A park for a hockey game than the Lynx would for a baseball game in Ottawa ... "There was no doubt in my mind. There was no way we were going to lose," said Jason Spezza, who had both Ottawa goals, of how he felt before overtime. "We don't deserve to be down 0-3."

Revelations:

Sabres F Jason Pominville, who set up Buffalo's first goal, was on waivers earlier this season. Anybody could have had him for the waiver price of $56,250 US. "We got lucky," said Buffalo director of player development Don Luce. "We slipped him through. It was early in the year and everybody seemed to be happy with their teams. They didn't know what the game was going to be like this year." Pominville had 18 goals this season ... Sabres F Derek Roy is a nice local kid and all, but he's got to clean up his act when it comes to the diving. He was on the NHL diver's list this year and attracted some attention with how easily he went down on a play that led to a Wade Redden penalty in Game 2. It's not a reputation you want to have.

Fun stuff:

Radio station WGR, which carries the Sabres broadcasts here, had a big, life-size cutout of Hasek out at a mall. They had a hole where his groin should have been and invited fans to try and fire a puck through the hole to win tickets to tonight's game. They started around 6 a.m. and it took until almost 10 a.m. for somebody to finally, umm, thread the needle.

Speculations:

The lone goal of the first two periods came with Redden in the box for a needless penalty, cross-checking a Sabre over G Ray Emery when the play was over. That was typical of the atypical decisions a lot of Senators have made in this series ... One of the weirdest things: Seeing former Sabres great Gilbert Perreault crooning The Wonder of You with an Elvis impersonator on the big screen right after the game. I can't imagine Alfredsson doing that 30 years from now in Ottawa. He would be with ABBA impersonators.

Just wondering:

How much do you think the value of Senators D Zdeno Chara on the free-agent market has been hurt by his performance this season? First, he wasn't a factor in the Norris Trophy race and now he has had a decidedly unimpressive post-season ... How did Miller fly under Team USA's radar for the Olympics? Buffalo fans remind us of that after every big save with chants of "USA! USA!"

Parting shots:

The crowd at HSBC was having a grand time when the Sabres were up 2-1 and time running down. They were singing Neil Diamond's Sweet Caroline. Then Spezza scored to tie it. You ever hear the lyrics go "Sweet Car-o-line, Buh, Buh ... Uh-Oh?"


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