Sens Even Series

By Kevin Forrester  Apr 14, 2004

2004 Playoffs

The Ottawa Senators knew they would eventually score on Ed Belfour.
But it wasn't until 19:24 of the first period in game four of their Eastern conference playoff tilt that they solved "Eddie The Eagle" after consecutive 2-0 defeats.
The series is now tied at two games apiece after Ottawa's opening game win 4-2.

Daniel Alferdsson not only predicted they would score on Belfour, but he put his money where his mouth is by taking a nifty Martin Havlat pass from behind the Leaf's net to open the scoring for the Sens.
Thomas Kaberle allowed Alferdsson to skate to the front of the net untouched, and slip the puck between Belfour's legs.
Gary Roberts had scored an earlier power play goal to give the Leafs the first goal of the game for the fourth consecutive time in the series.

Unlike the past two games when the Belfour and the Leafs held the Sens off the scoresheet, the Sens seemed to know that the "monkey was off their backs" and their persisitence paid off as they scored three more times to win 4-1 at the Corel Centre.
Other Sens' scorers were Marian Hossa with his third of the series, Todd White and Chris Phillips.
Phillips had a strong game as did Hossa.

The Leafs who were without their best player in the series thus far, Joe Niewendyk with an ailing back, looked tired and and played with little emotion.
This game also saw the loss of captain Mats Sundin and rugged winger Darcy Tucker with injuries in the third period. Their status for game five in Toronto on Friday night is uncertain.

The Leafs never seemed to be in this game from the outset as the Sens' strong forechecking continued to wreak havoc on the Leafs defence and wingers along the boards in their zone.

It was same old story as the previous three games as the Sens took control from the first faceoff but this time, Belfour was unable to keep the highest scoring team in the regular season off the scoresheet.
Belfour was not at fault for this loss as again, the Leafs were outshot (36-23), outhit and outhustled by the Sens.
Belfour made sure that this game was not over in the the first period as he was stellar during an early five on three power play for the Sens.

The slower Ron Francis took Niewendyk's spot between Nik Antropov and Alex Ponikorovsky and it was evident that these three were not on the same page all night.
It was hoped that the acquisitions of Niewendyk and Francis would shed the Leafs of the "one scoring line" label, but again, Mats Sundin's line scored the only Leaf's goal during another Zedeno Chara penalty.

Robert Reichel was ineffective against the speed of the Sens' forwards and he, like Thomas Kaberle and Calle Johansson virtually disappeared once the Sens began to take the body.

Pat Quinn and the Leafs have to find a way to win the one on one battles and neutralize the Sens' forecheck if they hope to keep home ice advantage.
Ed Belfour has done his part, now it's up to the rest of the Leafs to take control.

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