Monday, April 12, 2004

Game 3 preamble 

So much for the sweater-switching-karma theory of game 1. Despite making the switch after Roberts' second goal, the Leafs did not succumb to the switch's magical powers. Perhaps we were lacking something - an Eddie Belfour voodoo doll, for instance. I've also theorized that having a Keiths instead of a Guinness may have also snakebitten the Senators.

Given the scarcity of good beer at the Corel Centre, the Senators will have to soldier though on talent and grit tonight rather than superstition induced karma. Luckily they've shown every sign of being able to do so. Despite my gloom after Game 2, I've come to see the the many positives from the game.

Tonight I see as Patrick Lalime's night. He played very well on Saturday, particularly when the Leafs were storming in the first 10 minutes. I see him continuing that tonight in a tight, low-scoring game.

Much is being made of the Leafs' success at the Corel Centre, and rightfully so - they were 3-0 at the Corel Centre this year, and have won 5 of the last 6 playoff matchups there. However, not nearly as much is being made of the Sens home record of 23-8-5-5 this year. As in many other areas, the Leafs road record vs. the Sens home record are a matter of irresistible force meets immovable object.

Another question a lot of people are asking is will the home crowd even be a home crowd. During the regular season and in previous playoff meetings Leafs Nation were well represented in Ottawa. However, a major difference this time out is that the lion's share of tickets were sold prior to the matchup being set on the final day of the season. Although there have since been a few ticket drops, and undoubtedly some ticket resold on the secondry market, I forsee a smaller (but ever as vocal) contingent of Leafs fans. They should be easily drowned out by a vocal Sens playoff crowd. One of the things I love about the playoffs is that the normally tame regular season Ottawa crowd comes to life. It will be especially so for the Battle of Ontario IV.