The Ottawa Senators took a commanding 3-1 lead in their Eastern Conference Semi-finals series against the New Jersey Devils. The team that was once the template of a team that chokes in the playoffs is finally coming of age. Their great play from the first round against the Penguins(which I think was slightly discredited because the Pens are so inexperienced) has carried over into this second round.
I think there are two huge reasons for the Senators success in this series. One being the play of Ray Emery. While he has been suspect at times in these playoffs, he has shone brilliantly at other times when he's really needed to. Poor Martin Gerber is shaking his head right now as he sits and watches Emery play very well.
The other big reason is the play of Emery's counterpart, Martin Brodeur. Nobody can argue that Marty isn't the best goalie in the world today. That being said, I feel he has been very un-Marty like in this series. I don't think he played particularly well against the Lightning either, but Johan Holmqvist was a wet paper bag in net for Tampa Bay. Brodeur needs to step his game up, not to prove anything to anybody, but to win in these playoffs for the Devils.
There is a question that comes to my mind while I'm watching the Devils and Senators play hockey. That question is this: Have the Devils played the trap for too long? Without the ability to clutch and grab players cruising through the neutral zone, has the trap lost some of it's effectiveness? Aside from that, has their philosophy of defense first at all costs finally caught up to them with the arrival of "the new NHL"?
The Devils need to do something different in game 5 if they expect to extend this series. Right now, from where I'm sitting, the Devils look like a fly. Like a fly constantly running into a window and expecting a different result every time.