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Brian Elliott looking forward to facing the Penguins

Apr 13, 2010, 9:30 AM EDT

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Elliott.jpgLast night we wrote about how the Ottawa Senators are confident in
their ability to handle the Pittsburgh Penguins
in the first round, even
hinting at our thoughts that the Senators actually do have a decent
shot. The main reason why, beside their defense?

Brian Elliott.

Elliott
saved the Senators from the laugh-fest that is Pascal Leclaire, seizing
the starting goaltending spot and carrying the team at a time when it
seemed as if they might never win a game again. Ottawa stumbled out of
the Olympic break and it looked like they might actually fall out of the
playoffs; Elliott was there to help steady the ship.

Now, his
numbers are exactly great (2.57 GAA, 0.909 save %) but more importantly
he won many more games than he lost. At one point, down the stretch, he
won six straight games, including two straight shutouts. Now he’s
carrying the Senators into the playoffs, taking on one of the most
offensively gifted teams in the NHL. Per Bruce Garrioch of the Calgary
Sun, who chronicles Elliott’s journey to this point:

“I don’t see how you can’t be excited about it,” said Elliott. “The
guys say the real season starts now. Having the first practice of the
post-season (on Monday) was a little more serious and I like it when
it’s a little more competition and guys are bearing down on every shot.”

“I’m looking forward to it. All our guys — shot-blockers as well –
it’s a challenge to shut those guys down,” said Elliott. “If you do
(stop them) you give yourself a good chance.”

After being such a stumbling mess just one month ago, the Senators
have suddenly become of the more dangerous teams in the playoffs. They
are confident, and they’ve had success against Crosby and the Penguins
before.

Should I make my prediction now?

Naw, I’ll wait.

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