OTTAWA - Paul MacLean was anxious for his first playoff game in Canada since he played for the Winnipeg Jets in the 1980s.
The Senators had to be impressed with the support given by the Scotiabank Place faithful in Game 3.
The place was louder than it’s been for years, as fans tried to rally the home team to a goal that would send the night into wee hours. But it didn’t happen, as the Senators were defeated 1-0 on a goal by new arch-enemy Brian Boyle.
There is still hope for Ottawa in this series, despite now trailing 2-1. The Senators have proven that they’re every bit as deserving to advance as the Rangers.
And that would truly give fans something across the country to cheer and rally around.
With the Vancouver Canucks on the brink of elimination, the Senators have a chance to be the lone Canadian team left standing.
Now, no one would have ever predicted that going into this season, right?
THE KING'S SPEECH
Henrik Lundqvist was livid with Zenon Konopka after the Senators centre allegedly pinned his leg and prevented him from moving during one scramble. "Karlsson wound up with a good chance," said Lundqvist ... The Rangers goalie said he started thinking one goal might make the difference around halfway through the game. “The last game, we let it slip away, because of two fluky bounces, I think, so going into this one I was determined," said Lundqvist. "When Boyle scored that big goal, I said let’s get it done, we can’t let it slip away." He also said he's not surprised that Boyle, who had 11 goals during the regular season, is emerging as a star now. “He’s doing all the things he’s been doing all year, but now he’s scoring some big goals or us,” said Lundqvist. “And I’m not surprised. He’s a really skilled player. He’s been really hot in practise the last few weeks. We need guys to step up right now, and he’s doing that.”
STARTS AND STOPS
Kyle Turris surely had nightmares that included Lundqvist’s right pad, as that is what prevented him from tying the game late in the third ... John Tortorella’s contempt for the media has been quite obvious this series. He’s been curt with his answers, as well as his availability Monday morning. A quick moment after his media relations guy asked if there were any more questions, CBC’s Dan Seguin tried to ask one. “You missed, man,” Tortorella said as he left the room. One reporter best summed up Tortorella’s 54-second session, saying the Rangers coach had displayed “subhuman behaviour.” ... The Rangers found out why Colin Greening is called “Cyborg” by his teammates. The big rookie winger had four big hits in the first period ... Jared Cowen is the Senators rookie who has most stood out, however. After getting dinged with a minus-3 in Game 1, Cowen has been a strong, physical force. He was also robbed by Lundqvist’s left pad moments before Boyle broke the ice ... The way Jim O’Brien has played the past couple of games, people are going to start knowing him as Flyin’ O’Brien.
STUFF I THINK I THUNK
Rather than the old, tired and ineffective chant of the opposing goalie’s name (“Luuuuuunddddqvvvvvist”), Senators fans should do something unique in these playoffs. Like maybe sing the anthem during the game. After all, it won’t be long before Ottawa is Canada’s lone surviving team in the playoffs ... Konopka has gone from being a healthy scratch down the stretch to playing some important situations. He was good in the faceoff circles Monday, going 5-1 through two periods.
Hate to tell you all this, but along with having some seriously tough skin — he only has little more than a scratch under his right eye, and we’re not even sure it’s from Matt Carkner’s hard right punches — big Boyle appears to be a decent guy. You’d probably even like him. Talking to reporters after the morning skate, Boyle explained his approach to Monday’s meeting with the Senators, where he was expected to be booed at every turn — and just about was. “It’s a hockey game,” said Boyle. “I’ve played one or two before. Just going to enjoy it. That’s probably the only thing I’ve ever told anyone, when coming into a new situation.” ... He also shared the experience of his first NHL game. “I got there with 12 minutes to go in the first,” he said of a Rangers match in New Jersey. “I wound up with a goal and an assist. It was really good.” Wait, the flight was late? “I didn’t have a flight,” said Boyle. “I drove down and the driver got lost. I was an emergency call-up from Manchester. I was pretty much in panic mode.” How long to put your gear on? “Thirteen seconds,” he said.
THINGS THAT MAKE YOU GO HMMM ...
It looked again like Paul MacLean was rewarding players when he started the line of Chris Neil, Zack Smith and Colin Greening — the three who produced the OT winner in Game 2. Same thing when Konopka and Neil were on a a first-period power play while Jason Spezza also sat in the box. Konopka, who set up Nick Foligno for the late tying goal Saturday, served up a great opportunity for O'Brien in the second, but he was robbed by defenceman Stu Bickel, who may deserve credit for the best save of the night ... Konopka Korner was a very busy spot in the Senators' room after the morning skate. Before all the media surrounded him, Konopka explained the idea of how "The Skinny One On The Right" T-shirts the players are wearing came about. According to his teammates, the theme was Konopka's idea. "That was something that's been said a lot of the year, that we need to push the gas on the right, rather than hit the brake," he said. "Make sure we know which one to press. Sometimes when you're a driver, and you just get your licence, you press them both. The gas and the brake. The car doesn't work as well then. Then you've got to go to a mechanic, and usually he overcharges you, unless it's someone that you know, and then you owe them a favour. It gets complicated. Better to just hit the skinny one on the right. The whole family's got to be pushing the right pedal."