You know the old adage, if you haven’t anything good to say…well, that’s why I’ve been silent lately, until now.
What a game.
I could wax poetic about grit, perseverance and a never say die attitude, but it would all be hyperbole. The fact is the Sens won playing almost identical to how they’ve played every game of this series, on their heels. The Pens have, beyond a shadow of doubt, proven to be the better team. But, the Sens are better than their record in this series, and it would have been a travesty for them to go down in 5, considering how well they’ve played.
The Pens went into this elimination match having secured 2 clear cut victories, and one pick ’em win. The Sens had one clear cut victory, and a pick ’em loss. Yes the Pens have been the better team,but not to the degree the scorecard, and series tally indicated. The 2 clear wins were primarily a result of sketchy goaltending. That’s not to say the Sens would have won those games, but better goaltending would have at least allowed them to better play their game, and increased the value of the goals they did score in those matches. As it was, the Sens were going to have to score copiously in order to win, and that is neither reasonable, nor the game plan.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not trying to throw Elliott under the bus. This kid has a tremendous future, but he’s not there yet. At the same time, the same can be said for his team. The Sens are not likely to win this series, and were not likely to win this series when the puck first dropped. The valuable experience the Sens gain in this series, the better this team will be for it. Should they somehow prevail, all the better.
Last night, thanks to Pascal, who has been inconsistent, at best, the Sens received play-off calibre goaltending, and allowed the skaters to play their game, and hang in there long enough to get the win. That is what you want from a goaltender…a fighting chance. Pascal provided that, where Elliott, to date, had not.
Does this mean Pascal has earned back his starters position? Absolutely not. He will remain on the “prove it” list, and will likely have a chance to do so Saturday night. Should he provide another solid performance, win or lose, he will give the Sens management something to feel good about going into next season. I remain steadfast in my long term belief in Pascal, and who knows, maybe I’m completely delusional, but I absolutely believe he will be the goaltender this franchise has so long desired, if given a chance.
A big nod of recognition to Regin and Karlsson, their performances through-out this series have been masterful. Do they look like vets? No, not yet, but they also do not look out of place, and that, even beyond a series win, is the real value in this post season play.
Come on Sens, keep up the good play, I for one still believe you can win this series.