(Title reference to Plain White Ts' "Our Time Now")
First round matchup: Pittsburgh Penguins
What a way to enter the playoffs, eh? Two year's ago (2008 playoffs), the Ottawa Senators lost to the Pittsburgh Penguins in the conference finals, 0-4. They were swept out of the playoffs at the conference finals.
Now in the first round of the 2010 playoffs, they get to avenge their lost with the team that swept them. But a lot has happened in those two years. Like that team winning the Stanley Cup.
For the a good bit of the regular season, Pascal Leclaire was suspected to be their #1 goalie. But there was a turning point where Leclaire was out and Brian Elliott was in. That turning point was Leclaire's injuries. After his first injury, he was plagued with injuries coming at him from off the glass behind him and during practices. There was only one way to turn, and that direction was to Elliott.
The Sens don't have the same fire-power that the Pens do, but they can match with a good defensive effort. On paper, the Sens don't look like they have much going for them, but they have a lot that doesn't make it to paper. They have a consistency that runs through their lines, and the confidence that comes from having a fairly solid goalie in net.
But their downfall will be the lack of stardom. They may have Carrie Underwood in their entourage, but that isn't going to help them one bit. If they can't get the fire lit under their bellies, it may be lights out sooner than everyone may think.
One player that I needs to step his game up is Erik Karlsson. The young defenceman is a very good defenceman, but there are cracks in his game that will turn out to be costly. In the playoffs every lead is a huge lead; even if it's just a single goal or 3 goals.
What Ottawa needs to do against the currenty Cup holders is keep a cool head and not get too hot or too cold during their run. If they keep their heads level, eyes on the puck, and blade on the ice, things should go well for them and a sweep won't happen again.
With a man like Daniel Alfredsson, the leadership should help lift them up.
Young Gun, Erik Karlsson: