This game was really an afterthought. The Senators had suffered a hope-destroying loss to the woeful Edmonton Oilers the night before. It was also trade deadline day, and the organization had disappointed many fans by failing to move any of its expiring contracts, instead choosing to spend draft picks to acquire Ales Hemsky – a player who will remain a "rental" until a new contract proves otherwise. Plus there was whatever it was that happened with Cory Conacher that led to the diminutive winger being waived and picked up by the division rival Buffalo Sabres. It was the worst day for the franchise since July 5, 2013 (the day the music died).
Still, every game is an event, and this one had its narratives. The big one for Sens fans was how presumptive rental Ales Hemsky would look as Jason Spezza's new wingman. Many Senators fans have also been anxiously watching to see whether the team’s defensive corps would look better without Jared Cowen, who had struggled mightily (like, Herculean struggles) in the few weeks before being pulled from the lineup at the beginning of the team’s western road swing.
One final point of interest was the goalie in the opposing net: relative unknown Joni Ortio, who had played only one NHL game before this one.
This one started as badly as we might have expected. Zack Smith turned the puck over at the Ottawa blue line a few minutes into the game, and a few touches later Markus Granlund put it in the back of Ottawa's net. 1-0 Flames.
The most compelling question for the ensuing stretch of play was whether the Senators would be able to make it through the first ten minutes without a shot. Sadly, their efforts were foiled when Bobby Ryan snapped off a shot after a mere 9:15 had expired. Just like that, the Sens were on the board! This actually did mark the beginning of a better spell for the Senators, who would go into the break with the advantage in shots (though down 1-0).
The Senators were lucky enough to find themselves with the man advantage for four minutes at the beginning of the period. But somehow the only two good chances on these powerplays went to the Flames, who were first gifted a 2v1 when Erik Karlsson couldn't be bothered to bachcheck (I love him too, but this was bad), then a full breakaway for Mark Giordano as he stepped out of the box. Craig Anderson came up huge on both chances to keep the team in the game.
Andy's efforts were squandered a few minutes later when newly-signed Chris Phillips took a cheap penalty, and so wasn't on the ice to stop Paul Byron from scoring a powerplay goal.
And so, confirming that I could indeed have written this recap in advance instead of staying up all night to do it, the Senators once again (as always?) found themselves down 2-0.
And then Bobby Ryan got in a goddamned fight! And he won! After switching to his other hand like Inigo Montoya!
But seriously, I hate it when skill players get in fights. You lose one of your best players for five minutes and risk losing them for a lot longer. And indeed, it looked like Ryan was favouring his right arm as he went off. All we can do is dearly hope that this doesn't turn out to be the case (I note that he did finish the game).
I'm not sure whether Bobby was just frustrated or whether he was trying to spark his teammates. If it was the latter, it didn't work: the Flames quickly scored again after a comedy of defensive zone errors by the Spezza line (which honestly could have had any two random wingers at that point) and the Wiercioch-Gryba pairing.
3-0 Flames after two periods.
The third period started with a bang when Clarke MacArthur threw a big clean hit on Jiri Hudler. A scrum ensued, the most entertaining part of which was Erik Karlsson's feigned participation. The Senators got a powerplay out of this melee, but the day being what it was, nothing came of it.
The one positive note of the night came when Kyle Turris scored his 20th goal of the season. Good for Turris, whose play has been one of the few bright points for the Sens this season.
There was, unfortunately, little time to enjoy Turris' milestone before Chris Neil took a stupid offensive zone penalty. The Flames’ Mike Cammaleri soon drove the last nail into the Ottawa casket, scoring an open net goal on which Craig Anderson basically stood up and skated away before the puck was even in the net.
Some time later, the game ended.
Sens Heroes: Adnan, who was right about everything
Sens Zeroes: Hope
Sens Killers: Ownership; coaches; players, etc.