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Exit Signs
Michael Farber
May 03, 1999
Dominated by Dominik Hasek and pestered by Michael Peca of the Sabres, the favored Senators were looking at a short stint in the playoffs
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May 03, 1999

Exit Signs

Dominated by Dominik Hasek and pestered by Michael Peca of the Sabres, the favored Senators were looking at a short stint in the playoffs

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Peca, who has evolved from a defensive specialist into a 27-goal scorer, is handling everything impeccably now. With 55 seconds left in Game 1 and Ottawa pressing for the tying goal with six attackers, Peca cleanly beat Radek Bonk on the face-off in the circle to Hasek's left. Then, with fewer than 20 seconds remaining and Peca preparing for another face-off at the same dot, Ottawa coach Jacques Martin switched to Bruce Gardiner. Even if Gardiner had won the draw—he didn't—Ottawa would have had a fourth-liner with stone hands on the ice at a critical moment. "Peca," says coach Lindy Ruff, "dictated the game."

The lesson is that talent, unless it's mixed with grit and goal-tending, won't take you the first mile in the playoff marathon.

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