Has the playoff choke started for the mighty Sens? There next game is Saturday, so they have to listen to all the shite in the press for two full days. If they don't win the next one, it will go five at the most.ISLAND OF DESPAIR
Senators lay ugly egg in opener of playoffs
By BRUCE GARRIOCH, Ottawa Sun
Islanders 3, Senators 0 -- THE loudest boos at the Corel Centre were saved for the Senators on the opening night of the Stanley Cup playoffs.
The New York Islanders and arch-villain Alexei Yashin got the last laugh by stunning the heavily favoured Senators 3-0 -- and the 18,273 in the seats -- in the opener of their Eastern Conference quarter-final series.
Though Isles goalie Garth Snow was credited with 25 saves, his first career playoff shutout couldn't have come more easily.
Shawn Bates, Dave Scatchard and Yashin supplied the goals to back up Snow.
"We didn't play well ... that's for sure," said Senators assistant captain Curtis Leschyshyn. "The good thing is we know that we can play better. We didn't seem to come out with any kind of jump and it really hurt us.
"With the kind of year we had, we should have been confident and I don't know why we wouldn't be confident. We have to believe in the confidence we have and get back to playing the way we did in the regular season."
Where did the Senators go wrong last night? Just about everywhere.
LITTLE TO CHEER
They did nothing right and it would be tough to find any positives because not one player could claim he played especially well.
"I don't know what happened," said winger Marian Hossa. "I just know that wasn't us out there. We couldn't make a pass, we were trying to hit everything and we just weren't playing our game. Nothing was looking good for us.
"We should be a lot better than that. Expectations are high and I think everybody may have put too much pressure on themselves to win that game. We've got to be stronger than that. We've got to get back to playing our game."
No kidding. These weren't the same Senators that picked up 113 points in the regular season. Yes, it's a seven-game series and there's no reason for panic yet, but they'll face a lot of tough questions before Game 2 Saturday.
The biggest one: Could they have played any worse?
"It's got to be a wakeup call," said goaltender Patrick Lalime, who allowed three goals on 34 shots -- one more than he gave up in all of the club's first-round series against the Flyers last year. "We knew that it wasn't going to be easy. We have to get back to playing our game."
And quickly. The Senators don't want to dig themselves a 2-0 hole before the series shifts to Long Island for Games 3 and 4 next Monday and Wednesday.
The fact is, they looked nervous last night and the power play was a horrible 0-for-7.
They also must work on their discipline. Wingers Peter Schaefer and Magnus Arvedson took horrible penalties that led to the goals by Yashin and Bates. That's not characteristic of the Senators and it must change.
"The bottom line -- we didn't deserve to win that game," admitted Senators coach Jacques Martin.
"We didn't play our game, our passing wasn't crisp and we didn't work hard enough. We didn't show the kind of game that we're capable of playing and we have to improve."
The Senators' night got off to a disheartening start with Scatchard's opening goal, which bounced in off the back of Lalime's leg to give the Isles a 1-0 lead at 7:59 of the first.
That took the fans out of the game and appeared to make Ottawa panic a little.
"What can you do? He takes that shot 100 times and it's not (going to go in)," said Lalime.
The Isles, however, didn't believe the win was any fluke.
"We played with a lot of heart and a lot of conviction out there," said Isles coach Peter Laviolette. "I don't know about everybody else, but the team inspired me."
Twenty-hours earlier, Laviolette declared he had the better team in this series.
For one night, at least, his players proved him right.
New York leads series 1-0