Don't jump off just yet

TIM BAINES -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 10:26 AM ET

In the wake of two losses to the Ducks in Anaheim, it's hard to believe Senators fans are jumping off the bandwagon.

With plenty of finger-pointing, the fickle fans have ratcheted up the blame-o-metre. Yep, it's the referees' fault. It's bad ice. It's Wade Redden. It's that gangsta rapper Snoop Dogg holding up his foam finger (or maybe it's his middle finger). It's the gazillion-day layoff between the sound thrashing of the Buffalo Sabres and playing against the Ducks in the Stanley Cup final.

C'mon, cut the crap.

The Senators are home. They need your leather lungs cheering them on. They're not going to come up with excuses, so why should we?

Now I'm getting wound up. I'm trying to come up with some sort of inspirational speech for the Senators. And I'm at a loss for words. I'm going to call on a leader of men, putting aside that his 0.0 grade-point average was the worst in the history of Faber College.

Yep, we're talking about John Blutarsky. You might know him better as Bluto from Animal House -- you know, the guy with pencils sticking out of his nose and mustard spilled all over his body.

So Sens fans, listen up:

"It ain't over now. 'Cause when the going gets tough ... the tough get going. Who's with me? Let's Go! Come on! What the hell happened to the Senators I used to know? Where's the spirit? Where's the guts, huh? I'm not gonna take this. Moen, he's a dead man! Pronger, dead! Niedermayer ..."

Okay, I made a couple of changes to Bluto's speech. Anyway, you get the idea.

CONSPIRACY THEORY

And about this blame thing, you'd have to be an idiot to buy into the conspiracy theory that the refs have been instructed to favour the American team. Yeah, sure. And there was a grassy knoll somewhere behind the Honda Center in Anaheim.

The recipe for a Senators' victory in tomorrow night's Game 3 is simple.

Play better. Outwork the Ducks. Dump the puck deep, not right to an Anaheim defenceman. And score goals.

The fact is the scores of Games 1 and 2 do no justice to the domination the Ducks displayed over the Senators.

Some bad bounces and jitters hampered the Ducks in Game 1. And Ray Emery was a cement wall in Game 2, letting in just one goal. The scores could have been lopsided. So far, shots on goal are 63-36 in favour of Anaheim, while the Ducks lead 66-49 in hits.

History shows the Senators are in trouble. The Senators are 0-5 when falling behind 2-0 in a series. Teams that have won the first two games of a final at home have won the Stanley Cup 29 of 30 times.

But why dwell on history, which also tells us the Toronto Maple Leafs have won the Cup 13 times (all together now, chant 'Sixty-seven!')?

The bottom line is the Senators will have the last line change, likely a faster ice surface and allegedly unbiased officials tomorrow night. So why can't they win? Then it's 2-1 for the Ducks? Follow that with another win on Monday and it's 2-2. All square.

The fat lady can stop exercising her vocal chords and who knows what can happen from there?

Some ink-stained wretches are trying to label each game a "must-win." It's not a "must-win" until you must win, which would be when you've lost three games in this series.

So tomorrow's game isn't a must-win situation. It's just a "we'd better get our butts in gear right now" game.

Toga-lovin' Bluto was right. It ain't over.


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