Ottawa's Alex Kovalev deep in thought about whether to turn the puck over immediately or to wait a second and THEN turn the puck over. (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
Good thing the Senators have already clinched a playoff berth, because they were embarrassed on the ice by a New York Islanders team that played with much more desperation in an afternoon game. All but eliminated save for some fancy math, the Isles repeatedly out-hustled the Sens to lost pucks, won just about every battle for loose pucks, and were easily the better team on the ice.
The loss essentially nullifies any chances of winning the Northeast Division for the Senators. If Buffalo wins tonight, they will be seven points ahead of Ottawa and the Sens will only have three games remaining. It seemed as if the Sens were resigned to the fifth seed as laziness was the story of the day. Overskating pucks, sloppy passes, and poor positioning were all on tap for this game. Head coach Cory Clouston must have been furious with the effort level from his team; I know I was.
Could any positives be salvaged from this mess? Read on and find out.
Sens Hero: Matt Cullen
Cullen was the only Senator with an effort level to match what the Islanders had. It was not a coincidence that he scored Ottawa's lone goal. Despite this only being his fourth goal in a Sens jersey, Cullen continues to give a full effort every night. He has the look of someone ready for the playoffs.
Sens Zeroes: Everyone else. EVERYONE!
The first line had their chances but could not convert. Special dishonorable mentions for:
Chris Campoli: Easily his worst game since returning from injury, Campoli was trying too hard against his old team instead of just playing the system. The result was utterly unsurprising -- he was a team worst minus four.
Alex Kovalev: Seemingly replaced by his evil genetically engineered twin, Dr. Turnover, Kovalev was off his game in this one. He was a minus three, and it was an accurate stat today.
Brian Elliott: Seemed to give up after his teammates gave up. Played well in the first, but not so well in the second and third. Managed an assist on Cullen's goal. Might we see Leclaire in the next game?
Sens Killers: Effort, Blake Comeau, John Tavares
Effort has been talked about already, so let's mention Comeau, who set up Tavares for the game's opening goal. Comeau had a few chances himself, but was consistent in his ability to generate offense.
Tavares, meanwhile, showed the speed and shot that made him a number one overall pick. There's not much more to say.
Bullcrap: Every single streak was broken in this loss.
Shot Chart: Fine, here you go.
Forthcoming. Warning: Only for the masochistic fan.