First Sid the Kid and the Pittsburgh Penguins got the boot. Now Martin Brodeur and the New Jersey Devils are done.
It took the Ottawa Senators all of 10 games to advance to the Eastern Conference finals and finally deliver in the playoffs after a decade of disappointing failures.
Jason Spezza scored the go-ahead goal and set up another by Daniel Alfredsson in a three-goal second period as Ottawa beat the Devils, 3-2, last night in East Rutherford, N.J., and won the series in five games.
"We don't want to get ahead of ourselves," Senators general manager
John Muckler said. "We played awfully well this series and the Pittsburgh series. I don't think we're the same team as in the past. The chemistry in the locker room is much better. It's just a group of guys who believe in themselves and are working."
First against Sidney Crosby and the Penguins, then against the Devils, the Senators played solidly in all phases. They got great goaltending from Ray Emery, outstanding play from their top lineof Spezza, Alfredsson, and Dany Heatley, solid defense (11 goals in five games), and timely plays fromtheir role players.
It was all there when Ottawa sent the Devils packing in what might've been their last game at Continental Airlines Arena. The Senators will face the Buffalo Sabres
or New York Rangers in the conference finals with the winner earning a trip to the Stanley Cup finals.
Red Wings 4, Sharks 1 -- Pavel Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg each had a goal and two assists, leading host Detroit past San Jose and within one victory of reaching the Western Conference finals.
The Red Wings are ahead, 3-2, and can close the series tomorrow night in San Jose, Calif.
Datsyuk turned Sharks goalie Evgeni Nabokov's misplay into the winning goal late in the second, and Nabokov didnt seem the same after that, allowing a pair of
third-period power-play goals.
Mikael Samuelsson added an insurance goal nearly four minutes into the final period, slapping a one-timer past Nabokov. Tomas Holmstrom concluded the scoring, converting Zetterberg's centering pass with 13:46 left.
Defenseman Mathieu Schneider broke his wrist during the first period and will miss the rest of the playoffs, Red Wings coach Mike Babcock said. Schneider, who scored the OT goal in San Jose Wednesday that evened the series at 2, was hurt when checked by Sharks captain Patrick Marleau.