Hold your heads high, boys. (Photo by Phillip MacCallum/Getty Images)
Well, what is there to say? This Ottawa Senators team, picked by most to miss the playoffs, kicked some butt instead. They weren't "swept in embarrassing fashion." They gave the defending champs all they could handle for six games and they did it without Filip Kuba, Alex Kovalev, Milan Michalek, or a goalie with any playoff experience.
That said, they still blew a 3-0 lead tonight. Let's go through the game, goal by goal, because that's about all I can take right now.
5:19 of the first period: Senators 1, Penguins 0 - Matt Cullen hops over the boards for a line change, but no Penguins players notice him. Daniel Alfredsson does, however, and Cullen is off to the races on a breakaway. Some stickhandling to keep Marc-Andre Fleury honest lets him put the puck top shelf. The crowd is going bonkers.
1:51 of the second period: Senators 2, Penguins 0 - Chris Kelly is skating into the Penguins zone, thinking about if he has a twin out there somewhere... maybe being King of the French? The distracted Kelly is tripped, and by reflex attempts a backhand pass to Fleury. The rebound is giftwrapped onto Chris Neil's stick, and Neil buries it into an open net for his third goal of the playoffs. The third line gathers to talk about if idiots like myself will stop talking about how they're overpaid now.
9:48 of the second period: Senators 3, Pengiuns 0 - Daniel Alfredsson sneaks behind the net while Matt Cullen does some puck retrieval work along the boards. Cullen knows what's up and fires a pass to Alfie, which lands in his skates. This is important, because Fleury had slid across to play the one-timer. But Alfie isn't able to one-time the puck and as he moves it to his forehand, Fleury has left some daylight on the far side. The captain finds said daylight. Crowd is in a frenzy.
Stop reading here if you like rainbows, unicorns, fairies or the Ottawa Senators.
Ok, you've been warned.
10:56 of the second period: Senators 3, Penguins 1 - There's a massive pileup in front of Leclaire. He makes one save, then two saves. It's as if he has discovered that not thrashing about is a more effective way to play goal. Unfortunately, that means his defensemen have to get rid of rebounds. Matt Carkner and Chris Campoli don't, and Matt Cooke puts the puck in the net. Gee, that's funny. I've never seen garbage score garbage before. Less happy ending here, though.
7:03 of the third period: Senators 3, Penguins 2 - On the power play, Bill Guerin gets a chance to shoot. There's only one place that he can put it where he will score -- Leclaire has everything else covered. Guerin scores.
12:24 of the third period: Senators 3, Penguins 3 - Matt Cooke punches home a rebound off of a faceoff shot. No one fist bumps him on the bench, though because he didn't wash his hands during the intermission. Because he's evil.
9:56 of the first overtime: Senators 3, Pengiuns 4 - Jordan Staal wins a battle and whips a puck to Pascal Dupuis, who one-times one through Leclaire, who can't get set in time. It's a bang-bang play. What can you say? Just like that, the season is over. The Sens fans give a great salute to their team -- a team that never gave up in the face of adversity this season. There's some small victory in that, even though it doesn't feel like it right now.