When I left you on Sunday night, Ottawa had just finished October on a 6-game winning streak that had involving more come-from-behind victories than the Mighty Ducks movie franchise. All was rainbows and unicorns, the lion laid down with the lamb, and World Peace seemed imminent.
Unfortunately, as soon as we entered November, The Laws of Statistics unleashed a pressing flood of mathematical principles such as, "Regression Towards the Mean", and the Senators, indomitable in the face of competition, wilted under the heavy balance of probabilities. Also the lion got hungry and ate the lamb. What I mean to say is that Ottawa started November by going 0-4-1 and dropping to 7-9-1 on the season. Given this suddenly dire state of affairs, a victory against the Toronto Maple Leafs was like a delicious football to the groin in the middle of an art-film marathon.
November 12, 2011: Ottawa 5 – Toronto 2
There was much to like about this game. Craig “Mister” Anderson put in a solid performance, and was only a goal and a fight short of a Gordie Howe Hat Trick. Sergei Gonchar scored on the powerplay, and dedicated his goal to Mark Parisi in his post-game interview. Z. Smith even went on one of his patented “random snipe shows” wherein he simply decides to put the puck into the net with such great ease that you know he could do it more often if he ever bothered to give a crap. However, the highlight of the evening occurred when Clark MacArthur channelled his inner Bryan McCabe and scored into his own net from the offensive zone, which is kind of the hockey equivalent of forgetting to unzip your fly before you piss. This goal was eventually credited to Milan “Empty Netters Are A Great Way To Pad My Stats” Michalek. I take this as more proof that Ottawa won the Heatley trade. There’s no way Dany could ever be so persuasive as to convince the other team to score on themselves. That entire play is typical of Michalek’s superior offensive creativity.
November 15, 2011: Ottawa 3- Calgary 1
Daniel Alfredsson scored, a Craig Anderson giveaway behind the net lead to a goal against, and one Robert J. Butler scored two goals of such quality, I wept openly at their beauty. After the game, Butler was reminded that he was supposed to be slumping this year, so he immediately fucked right off for the rest of the season.
November 29, 2011: Ottawa 6 – Winnipeg 4
A Z. Smith random snipe show held up as the winner, and Mike Foligno scored into the empty net (according to the TSN Jets announcer), as Ottawa won a typically wild affair in Winnipeg.
Having survived an up and down (but mostly down) November, December was when Ottawa started to hit their stride. It was during this season of giving and celebration that in late December, we all gathered together with our families and celebrated God’s Gift to Us: Daniel Alfredsson.
December 5, 2011: Ottawa 4 – Tampa Bay 2
Having not executed a thrilling 3rd period comeback in several weeks, the Senators reminded us that they still had it in them, as goals from Daniel Alfredsson, Nick Foligno, and Z. Smith erased a 2-1 3rd period deficit at home. Alfredsson’s goal came via a beautiful stretch pass from Craig Anderson. It was Anderson’s 3rd assist of the year. Anderson’s strong offensive play made David Rundblad obsolete as a puck-moving defenseman, forcing Bryan Murray to move Rundblad two weeks later.
December 22, 2011: Ottawa 4- Florida 3, OT
You know who I haven’t mentioned recently? Daniel Alfredsson. Just as you were starting to forget about him, Alfie potted his 399th career goal in this contest off a Chris Neil feed. Neil also scored Ottawa’s opening goal in the game just to show Erik Karlsson that it’s really not that hard. Karlsson then took everything he had learned from Neil, and proceeded to crank home his 4th of the year on the power play. It’s those little leadership moments that make it impossible to overstate Chris Neil’s leadership in the Senators’ locker room. But enough Adnan trolling for one paragraph…
Somehow, Florida was not immediately overcome by Ottawa’s clear superiority and refused to capitulate, tying the game with 1:12 left in the 3rd period and sending the game into overtime. However, Florida was powerless to resist the machinations of Bobby Butler, who scored the overtime winner entirely by accident. “Don’t worry, I won’t make scoring big, important goals a habit.”, Butler said after the game.
December 30, 2011: Ottawa 4 – Calgary 3, OT
While this game ended auspiciously, its beginning left something to be desired, as Craig Anderson started the game still dazed and confused from the turkey feast a few days earlier.
Having watched Anderson spot the opposition a 3-0 lead by the end of the 1st period, Ottawa had to place its trust in Alex “Sudoku Master” Auld for the remainder of the game. (There’s a sentence I sincerely hope to never have to write again.) Surprisingly, Auld was up to the task as much as Ottawa’s offense was up to the comeback. (Ed Note: I was actually at this game, so you would have thought that I would have remembered this accurately, but nooooooo...) Alex Auld sucked in net, as usual, meaning it was up to Craig Anderson to right the ship after the 1st period. I felt bad for Anderson being forced to work on his night off, but then I remembered he makes nearly $3.2 million/year and that feeling went away. Starting in the 2nd, Ottawa began to work on another comeback. First, Nick Foligno scored via pure strength of will on a drive to the net. A few minutes later, a RSS from Z. Smith cut the lead to one. Then, in the 3rd period, Erik Karlsson produced one of his best plays of the year. Utilizing the excellent instincts for which he is justly famed, Karlsson jumped on a break out pass in the neutral zone and cut towards the net on the right wing. He let a shot go, picked up his own rebound, circled the net, and fired the puck home before Not Miikka Kiprusoff had a chance to react. Having come back from 3-0 down, all that remained in the game was for Daniel Alfredsson to make history, thus sending the Scotiabank Place crowd into hysterics, and keeping Nightbreak on the horn so long, I thought he’d accidentally broken it.