Commentary, news, analysis and reader-driven discussions focusing on this year's Stanley Cup playoffs.
By John Rolfe, SI.com
1. Daniel Alfredsson, Ottawa -- The captain shucked off a decade of blame and disappointment with a masterful performance that included driving through three Sabres to score the game-winning goal. He also set up Jason Spezza's second-period, go-ahead goal off a 2-on-1 and seemed to be everywhere, hounding the Sabres, screening Ryan Miller and making good things happen when his team needed it most.
2. Chris Drury, Buffalo -- The man literally gave blood, throwing his body in front of shots and leading his desperate team by valiant example -- until he was felled by a puck to the face. Fittingly, Drury had a hand in Maxim Afinogenov's game-tying goal in the third period.
3. Anton Volchenkov, Ottawa -- Jason Spezza was a significant offensive factor, but Volchenkov was a crucial bruising defensive blanket on the Sabres. One of his customary blocked shots helped create the odd-man rush by Alfredsson and Spezza that gave Ottawa the lead in the second period.
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Congratulations to the Senators. They were the better team in the series. I am disappointed that the Sabres didn't really show up until Game 4, but I hope they'll use this experience and grow from it next year.
Chris Drury is the man.
But as I don't receive Versus, I didn't get to see the overtime. Screw you NBC & NHL! So ... whatever ... why are we supposed to care, when they don't.
The selections are all on the ball (Alfredsson was the best player for either team, Drury was as good as anyone for Buffalo and Volchenkov was ...well, Volchenkov) but try to get your facts straight. Drury didn't have a hand in Afinogenov's tying goal because he was in the dressing room getting his face stitched up. He played about as well as you could expect from him, but he still wasn't on the ice for that goal.
I am just happy to see Ottawa finally make it to Finals. I've been waiting a long time for this, and the emotions are incredible! More to the point of the 3 stars, you can't forget about Ryan Miller. The Sabres netminder was the leading factor in his teams ability to keep with the Senators. He made key saves throughout the series when it seemed as though Buffalo was down and out. Honourable mentions;
1. Maxim Afenigenov
2. Mike Fisher