Duck line's Dogging Sens

CHRIS STEVENSON -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 9:27 AM ET

ANAHEIM -- It is the picture that lingers after two games in California, Senators winger Mike Comrie on the bench, a trainer packing gauze into each nostril of his bleeding nose.

Well, that and the unlikely image of Snoop Dogg, the lanky gangsta rapper, holding aloft one of those foam fingers that proclaim the Ducks as No. 1.

The Doggfather's latest offering is "Da Blue Carpet Treatment."

His favourite hockey team has laid out Da Black and Blue Carpet for the Senators, which suits Snoop just fine.

"I love the intensity, the hitting and the way the guys bounce off the fibreglass walls," said Snoop.

Comrie took an elbow from Ducks defenceman Francois Beauchemin in the schnozz.

The Senators have figuratively taken it on the chin.

They will limp home today with empty hands in this Stanley Cup final, down 2-0 and with their fans wondering if this wonderful spring run has finally run out of steam.

The big line of Dany Heatley, Jason Spezza and Daniel Alfredsson, which has carried this team through the playoffs so magnificently, is now its liability.

For the second straight game, the line was on the ice for the winner in the third period, victimized by the Ducks' checking line.

It was Samuel Pahlsson who finished them last night after linemate Travis Moen had done it to them in Game 1.

Pahlsson is the quiet star of this series, a punishing hitter, a stifling checker and, now, a big goal scorer.

"Sammy's a Swede, but he thinks he's from Red Deer," said Ducks GM Brian Burke, a nod to Pahlsson's gritty style.

"I would love to score 50 goals a season, but that's not me," said Pahlsson. "I just play the way I've always played. I haven't changed a lot."

The domination of the Senators' big line by Pahlsson and his unit, backed up by the defensive tandem at even strength of Chris Pronger and Scott Niedermayer, is the story of this series. Pahlsson's winner came on yet another neutral zone turnover.

The Senators' only hope now is a return home will allow Senators coach Bryan Murray, who will have the last change, to get the big line away from the Pahlsson blanket.

Halfway through the second period, it was about the most one-sided scoreless game you could imagine.

The Ducks, supposedly bigger and slower, beat the Senators to the puck on numerous occasions. The Senators managed to get some contact in of their own, Ottawa's Chris Kelly leveling Anaheim's Corey Perry with a strong shoulder check and winger Chris Neil hammering Francois Beauchmin behind the Ducks' net.

BOBBLED PUCKS

But the Senators' only sustained presence in the Anaheim zone came during a 5-on-3 for 68 seconds in the first period. Comrie, Heatley and Spezza had chances, but bobbled pucks or a piece of Giguere's equipment kept the game scoreless.

The Senators can hope that a return to home ice will help them in the match-up game, but don't count on it.

Ducks coach Randy Carlyle is committed to the matchups and will change on the fly to get the Pahlsson group on the ice against Spezza.

Murray broke up the big line on occasion last night, using Neil in Alfredsson's place for a couple of shifts in the second period and putting Alfredsson with Mike Fisher and Peter Schaefer. He continued to flip-flop them through the game. Murray also tried double- shifting the line on a couple of occasions, but getting away from the checking of Pahlsson is a chore.

If not for the work of goaltender Ray Emery, the Senators would have not still had a chance to win the game in the third period. As much as they have been outplayed for stretches in the first two games, that is one of the positives to which the Senators can cling, that they have had a chance to win each game.

The Senators showed some grit last night to hang on the way they did. Their fans will say they had a chance to win.

Snoop Dogg can hold his foam finger higher, proclaiming his team No. 1.

It's hard to argue with him this morning.


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