Heading into the last stretch of games before the playoffs, this is the way I want to see my boys playing.
Tough. Chippy. Taking no crap from nobody.
It was a typical tilt against the Philadelphia Flyers. Dating back to 2004, when a game got completely out of hand and brawls broke out all over the ice (including a goalie tilt between Patrick Lalime and Robert Esche), there has been no love lost between Ottawa and Philly.
I discovered one of my most loathed villains of all-time last night. Daniel Carcillo. Just the mere appearance of the guy made my skin crawl. Couldn't stand him. The way he tried to stare down Anton Volchenkov after the A-Train rode him into the boards? Nice intimidation tactic, Carcillo. Unfortunately, this is the A-Train you're dealing with. I don't think he intimidates easily. Oh, and wanna rough up our young d-man, Erik Karlsson? Weighs about 120 lbs. soaking wet? Here, meet Andy Sutton. You want to dance, you're gonna have to do it with the BIG boys!
Easily, the most fun I've had watching a hockey game since...well, since the Gold Medal game in the Olympics.
The Sens came away with another 2-0 shut-out win, the second in as many nights, and it feels like we're hitting our stride again. Brian Elliott had an amazing game. With a little help from...guess who? Anton Volchenkov. The A-Train had a big game, laying hits out all over the ice (particularly fueling the fire with Carcillo), but possibly his best moment of the game came with time winding down in the third, the Sens hanging on to a 2-0 lead, Elliott down and out, and the Flyers scrambling all around the Sens' net. Volchenkov took the opportunity, as he often does, to play "back-up goalie", sitting in the goal crease and sweeping the puck out of the net before it could fully cross the line. It was a pretty questionable call, but after a lengthy video review, it was determined they could see no white between the line and the puck. A-Train in the perfect place at the perfect time, yet again!
And man, am I loving Andy Sutton. The dude is a giant. I loved it when he stepped in between Carcillo and Karlsson, standing up for his teammates, not letting the little goonie goo goo take any liberties. I didn't even care that Sutton was tagged with a roughing minor, on top of Karlsson's tripping penalty, handing the Flyers a 2-minute 2-man advantage. It ended up being one of the most awesome moments in the game, when the Sens were able to kill it off, and the fans stood and raised the roof with a rousing ovation.
Our goals came from Chris Kelly and Daniel Alfredsson. Alfie's came early in the third period after Volchenkov lay a questionable hit on Simon Gagne, drawing the attention of two other Flyers, while the Sens went in on the Philly net 4-on-2. Seemed pretty silly for them to just drop out of the play to seek revenge on Volchenkov, and following the goal, the celebration was cut short when a huge melée broke out. The really sweet part? The Sens ended up with a SEVEN MINUTE POWERPLAY out of it! How crazy-awesome is THAT?! They weren't able to capitalize on the lengthy man-advantage, but it effectively ended the game for the Flyers, as they were forced to spend much of the period killing the ensuing penalties.
So that's two wins in a row, and just like that, the panic seems to have subsided. The Sens are in 5th place in the Conference with 83 points, and their hold on a playoff position solidifies with each win.
Keep 'em coming, boys. This Spring is starting to get exciting!