Hopefully yesterday's chain of events in the Eastern Conference isn't any indication of what the Penguins can expect tonight. Both Montreal and New York watched their 2-0 series leads diminish to 2-1. Now, with the Penguins heading up to Ottawa for two games, is it possible the same can happen to them?
Confidence will say no way. Reality will say there's always a chance.
But those chances started slimmer for Ottawa tonight, as rumors around the camp indicated that Jason Spezza did not participate in the Sunday morning skate. Reportedly, Spezza jammed his leg in Game 2. Jammed leg or not, Spezza will be out there tonight.
Oh, and so will Daniel Alfreddson.
Considering the Don Brennan low blows and the endless criticism of Ruutu's diving, perhaps Laraque/Ruutu can just keep him out for the rest of the playoffs (which should only be another two or three games anyways).
Expect boos to echo through the rafters of the Scotia Centre whenever Crosby touches the puck. Ottawa fans did it last year and they'll probably do it again. They may even extend that welcome to the likes of Malkin and Hossa as well.
Needless to say, this is a must-win game for the Senators. Pittsburgh would love to take a 3-0 lead, but Ottawa would be more than willing to tie it up before heading back to Pitt. As long as Pittsburgh can handle the puck in the offensive zone like they've been doing all series, then victory should not be too far off. Yet the biggest factor on Ottawa's end all comes down to how Martin Gerber plays tonight.
We'll find out soon enough when the puck drops at 7pm.
In the mean time, check out this stellar piece of professionalism on behalf of the Senators.