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I remember a friend long ago (read: April) stating the following: "I want (the Senators) to face some real adversity (in the playoffs) and beat it. Then I'll know this is for real."

Well, they just got the first part of their wish.

The underlying sense of emotion is not solely comprised of panic and frustration right now. Bubbling very close to the surface is a strong hint of deja vu. However, it doesn't date back to bad games or periods versus any of the Sens' playoff opponents this season. To put it bluntly: I feel like the Sens are playing the Leafs again.

Taking nothing away from Anaheim -- they've proven they have talent. But there was never any proof to demonstrate that the Ducks were the overwhelming favourite to win the Cup against Ottawa.

Until now.

Just like the days of yore, the Sens are being outplayed, outhustled and outchanced (a hockey word if ever there was one, but I can think of no other way to describe it right now). Say what you want about Pronger and Niedermayer -- both are immensely gifted. But like a lot of offensive defensemen, both are capable of erring in their own zone, and neither has yet to bring their 'A' game to this series. Regardless, the point is moot because they haven't been called upon to act as the thoroughbreds that they're known to be -- Anaheim is accomplishing enough in other areas to get the job done, and neither of them (paired together or separate) has yet to see any offensive aggression from Ottawa's top line.

Meanwhile on many occasions, it appeared as if Ottawa was attempting to maintain a lead that didn't exist. The Ducks were freely allowed into the Ottawa zone to set up chances, and whenever Ottawa regained possession of the puck, it was just long enough to barely send it out of the zone for a line change. Then the whole process would start over again.

But the biggest indicator of history revisited came during the actual goal, when Alfredsson completely bailed on Samuel Pahlsson in an apparent (and horrifically timed) demonstration of respect for his fellow countryman. Simultaneously, Corvo began to skate towards the net (?!?!) and at the last second, attempted to feebly push Pahlsson out of the way with his ass.

In short, it was a sickening display and a devastating result for Ray Emery, who after tonight, deserves a lifetime exemption from a bill at Morton's for whenever the team is in SoCal.

Frankly, you could see this coming a mile away -- shut down the big line, and there's going to be issues. These issues currently come in the form of The Other Brother and a guy named after a faucet. And putting someone like Neil out there instead of Alfredsson will accomplish nothing. Neil hasn't made room for anyone on the ice since the Pittsburgh series, and Heatley and Spezza are attached at the hip. Does anyone really think Spezza's going to gain control of the puck and hand it off to Neil without considering virtually any other option first -- including his traditional last resort *gasp* -- shooting? We've always known that secondary scoring was going to be an issue, but guys like Vermette, Kelly and Schaefer have been M.I.A. for ages. To be a legitimate two-way forward, you've got to put the puck in the net occasionally.

As for the Topic Du Jour -- the dump and chase (or lack thereof): The Sabres during their series were perpetually attempting to skate the puck in, with brutal results. Now the Sens have inexplicably decided to try it themselves. Rule No. 1: Don't mirror the plays of a defeated team, especially if you were the ones to give them the boot.

*sigh* Alright, that's enough negativity for one evening. You're looking for some positives, right? Here they are:

1) Although Anaheim drastically curbed their penalties last night (three in the first, one in the second and none in the third), they're still coughing up the puck with 22 giveaways in Game 2;

2) The fourth line once again deserves credit for their effort. Putting Saprykin back in was the right call. He controlled the puck, didn't shy away from contact and his speed is always a welcome addition;

3) Ottawa has yet to bring anything resembling a significant effort in this series. Despite that, they've lost both games by only one goal.

Here's the reality: If Ottawa loses the Stanley Cup by continuing to play in such a fashion, all their work in this postseason will have been for naught. The choker label will return with a vengeance, and the fans of Ottawa will not tolerate this kind of regression so late in the season. I'll give The Driver the parting shot:

"If you're going to lose, lose like men. Don't puss out and jerk with people, because if you were going to pull this garbage, why did you even bother with the effort to get this far in the first place?"

I concur.