Why The Ottawa Senators Will Win The Stanley Cup This Year

Good riddance, Dominic Hasek.  You, too, Todd Bertuzzi.  Even your absolute best efforts couldn’t help The Detroit Red Wings move any further in The 2007 Stanley Cup Playoffs.  Boo hoo.  After a dismal 2006 post-season, when they were delightfully ousted by my Edmonton Oilers in the first round, Detroit redeemed themselves this year by making it to the Conference Championship Series.  In the end, it was all for naught.  Have fun crying in your beers, fellas.
The big reason The Wings are not in the final series is because of The Anaheim Ducks.  After a humiliating game 4, which The Ducks had already lost at the start of the second period, they bounced back in the most inspiring way imaginable by winning games 5 and 6, although they nearly blew the latter confrontation.  Detroit was able to reduce a 3-goal lead to one with just minutes left in the third.  Fortunately, Anaheim’s defence woke up and that was the end of that story.  An empty-netter sealed the deal.
And we shouldn’t forget what happened late in regulation during game 5.  Despite having a 1-0 lead, Detroit shot themselves in the foot when a defensive deflection in the last minute led to further action in overtime.  Teemu Selanne scored one of the prettiest goals of the post-season when he roofed it on a sprawling Hasek in the extra period.  The Dead Things never recovered after that.
As a result, for the second time in their short existence, The Ducks are in the Final.  Their opponents?  The red-hot Ottawa Senators.  Since The Sens were rebirthed 15 years ago, much has been expected of them.  Time and time again, though, they’ve disappointed many with their dismal playoff performances.
Not this year.  Starting goaltender Ray Emery has never been better.  He’s been a remarkable 12-3, thus far.  Put another way, he’s averaging one loss per series.  One.  And how about that 1.95 GAA?  And that 92% save percentage?  Not to mention his three shutouts.  Compared to last year when the team never made it beyond round 2, he has completely improved his play.  But he isn’t the only reason the team is playing so superbly. 
What about that Jason Spezza, Dany Heatley, Daniel Alfredsson line?  Collectively, they’ve put up 58 points.  If you add up everybody else’s point totals, that’s another 68 points.  In other words, nearly half of the assists and goals produced by the team come from these three players.  That’s significant.
Ottawa’s defensive play has also been outstanding.  Who knew that ditching Zdeno Chara, the Andre The Giant of hockey, would be one of the smartest decisions management ever made for this team?  He didn’t exactly help turn things around in Boston, now, did he? 
But what about The Anaheim Ducks?  They had a great regular season, thanks to the acquisition of that disgracefully disloyal Chris Pronger.  (I’ll never understand why you bailed on my team.  It couldn’t be because you’re pussy-whipped, could it?)  And the playoffs have been no exception.  Besides clipping The Wings in 6, The Ducks disposed of both The Vancouver Canucks and The Minnesota Wild in 5 games in each of their series.
Pronger, Ryan Getzlaf and Selanne have a combined 39 points this post-season.  And with the exception of some of the Detroit games, the goaltending has been excellent.  J.S. Giguere, the Conn Smythe MVP winner in 2003, has an even better GAA (1.87) and save percentage (93%) in 12 games than Ray Emery.  Ilya Bryzgalov has been no slouch, either.  3 wins and a loss, 2.25 GAA and a 92% save percentage.
So, with all that on the table, who is most likely to win The Stanley Cup this year?  A tough call, to be sure.  Goaltending on both sides is relatively even.  The Ducks have given up 34 goals compared to The Sens’ total of 31.  However, Ottawa does have a slight advantage in goalscoring.  48-42.  Astoundingly, we can’t go by regular season confrontations because, believe it or not, these two teams never faced each other this past year.  Not even once.
This series is likely to be low-scoring, tight defensively and we might even see some overtime games, as well.  In the final analysis, Ottawa has the stronger team.  Ray Emery, the Cayuga native, is playing the best hockey of his life; Daniel Alfredsson, the Swedish Captain, is playing like a Canadian with his rough-and-tumble goalscoring ways, and everybody else is pretty much pulling their weight.  They’ll face stiff competition in The Ducks but it’s long overdue for a Canadian team to win this prestigious trophy.
Ottawa in 7.
Dennis Earl
Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
Saturday, May 26, 2007
12:06 a.m.
Published in: on May 26, 2007 at 12:11 am  Comments (1)  

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  1. […] living proof of that.  I once predicted The Ottawa Senators would win the Stanley Cup (whoops) and that Avatar would win Best Picture (whoops again).  At the risk of looking like a dummy once […]

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