Tuesday, May 09, 2006

When the Best Isn't Good Enough

When looking at all the deficited that the four teams are in (Senators, Avalanche, Oilers, and Devils), there is one big similiarity to all the teams. It's not only the fact they haven't won a game yet in their series, but their best players haven't been the best, which is resulting in their demise thus far.

For the Avalanche, when you're down 3-0 and the first goals of the series (which didn't happen until Game Three) come from Dan Hinote and Jim Dowd, there is much bigger problems than Jose Theodore letting in suspect goals while tending the net. Joe Sakic, Milan Hejduk, and Alex Tanguay were all huge in the first round win over the Dallas Stars, but now they are MIA. Rob Blake got the third goal of the game, but the Avs lost in OT.

The Sens did have a spirited outing in Game One's 7-6 tete-a-tet, but yet Jason Spezza, Martin Havlat, and especially Daniel Alfredsson have been relatively quiet. Alfredsson hasn't had his wits about it, it seems. Whether it's brain cramps in his own zone, giving up on cross-ice passes to him, or pinching-in on the point, leading into a shorthanded chance-- Alfie hasn't been himself. The play of the leader rubs off on the team, which is starting to show on the Sens efforts.

The EGG (Patrik Elias- Scott Gomez- Brian Gionta) line in New Jersey was the top guns in the Swamp. However, they have only one goal combined in the series versus Carolina. The defense has been strangling that line, which seems to suck the life out of the other lines, resulting in only two goals in the first two games. There's enough leadership and experience on the team to help counteract the woes, but there's only so much a team can go through before all hope is lost.

For the Oilers, you almost have to believe that the Red Wings series took more out of them than many may think. Ryan Smith, Sergei Samsonov, and Ales Hemsky have been fairly invisible, while Chris Pronger and Dwayne Roloson have been holding down the defensive end to give the team a chance. Luckily, they get to go into the Rexall Place where their fans should hopefully re-energize the team.

In the end, when the going get's tough, the tough should get going. All hope may be lost for the Avs, as only two teams ('42 Leafs and '75 Isles) have come back from an 0-3 deficit. Equally grim, only 13% of teams have come back to win after going down 0-2. Even more useless trivia, this is the first time since 1980 that all the series were at least at 2-0. The more you know....

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