At the outset of tonight's game there were dueling narratives: on the one hand, the Ottawa Senators entered play a single point behind the New Jersey Devils for the final play-off spot in the East and had just completed back-to-back come-from-behind wins against the San Jose Sharks and the Los Angeles Kings. On the other hand, it was a mid-season game against the Devils and we all know how exciting those can be. In spite of the play-off implications, it just didn't seem too likely to be a barn burner. Approaching the six minute mark of the game the shot clock read zero for each side, and it sure looked another of the low-scoring, low-event games for which the Devils have become famous.
Then the rest of the period happened:
When the dust settled, the tally was five goals against in the span of just over 10 minutes of game time. There was a little bit of everything: two inept penalty kills, some egregiously poor defensive zone coverage, and a horrendous give-away to spring the Devils on a break-away. Truly, this one had it all.
If you turned off the television after the first twenty minutes, I wouldn't especially blame you but that means you missed a great individual effort by Bobby Ryan to get Mika Zibanejad a goal midway through the second:
Indeed the Sens carried the play for the rest of the game thereafter, and a couple of late tallies by Mike Hoffman and Cody Ceci actually gave the last two minutes a bit of drama before the Devils iced it with an empty-netter. It's not very exciting to say the game was over after the first, but it effectively was. The Sens can look back on this contest and wonder "What if Kyle Turris had been healthy?" or "What if we had gotten a save or two?" or "What if we had scored on those break-away chances in the third?" but at the end of the day they were down 5-0 after one and you're just not going to win many games like that. They won't have much time to lick their wounds however, as they play again tomorrow night in Ottawa against the New York Islanders.
Let's all just pretend this one never happened.
Sens Honourable Mention: Cody Ceci
Ceci had a goal an assist late but also effectively jumped into the rush on several occassions. It'd be a stretch to say any Senator played particularly well, but Ceci was about as good as anyone tonight.
Sens Zero: The team's play in the first period
It's tempting to throw Craig Anderson under the bus for this one after he allowed four goals on seven shots, but he was effectively hung out to dry by his team for a ten minute stretch in this one.
Sens Killer: Travis Zajac
Zajac had four points in the first period. That's more than enough to win a lot of games all on your own.
Highlights (if you can call them that):