On a day on which the Ottawa Senators were wholly called out by their owner, the team did what it does best: allowed the opening goal, lost focus to allow two more goals, tried to mount a comeback too late. The win allowed the Washington Capitals to clinch top seed in the East, while the Sens' playoff odds fell to 0.0337% according to Sports Club Stats. If Ottawa goes 8-0-0 down the stretch, they still only have a 12% chance of making the big dance.
The first period was unluckily forgettable (or forgettably unlucky?) for the Sens. Mike Richards opened the scoring, reminding Sens fans that Mike Richards plays for the Washington Capitals. Shortly thereafter, Washington got a powerplay during which Alex Ovechkin got open and fired home his 43rd of the year off a sweet feed from Marcus Johansson. Alex Chiasson tried to scramble to cover Ovi, but as we've seen so many times, he has a knack for getting open. Two minutes later, Nicklas Backstrom would bank one in off the end of Craig Anderson's blocker. Dave Cameron was calling his timeout, and things were looking dire. From there, the Sens would regroup, drawing two penalties to get 1:03 of 5-on-3, during which Erik Karlsson drilled the crossbar, and Mika Zibanejad whistled the puck just wide twice. Ottawa would actually outshoot Washington in the period, but couldn't get a single puck past Braden Holtby.
The second was even better from a run-of-play perspective for the Sens. The period was mostly Ottawa regrouping and carrying the puck back into Washington's zone, over and over. Once again though, they couldn't actually get the puck in the net. The only goal of the period came from Chris Wideman, a floater from the point that hit something on the way by and fooled Holtby. On the play, Michael Kostka picked up his first point as a Senator, which was a nice little tidbit in a season which hasn't gone according to plan to say the least.
The third period saw an all-too-familiar sight: the Sens mounting the comeback too late. The Sens pulled the goalie with two minutes left, and Mika Zibanejad banked home an Erik Karlsson shot that caromed off the end boards. But the team couldn't find the equalizer, and T.J. Oshie iced it with an empty-netter with just a few seconds remaining. The comeback was not to be. Final score: 4-2 for the Capitals.
To add to the fact, Dion Phaneuf got hurt on the last shift of the game. It's unclear if he'll be out long-term, but he'll for sure miss tomorrow. Looks like Fredrik Claesson will get one last hurrah in the NHL before (I presume) heading back to Sweden because he won't ever get a serious NHL look.
Honourable Mention: Erik Karlsson
He showed some of his trademark offensive flash tonight that's seemed to be lacking recently. He also scored one more point than Evgeny Kuznetsov, making him the sole holder of fourth in the NHL in points.
Dishonourable Mention: Craig Anderson
Andy wasn't really to blame on any of those early goals, but the team needed one save to stay in the game. They didn't get it. The team actually played a pretty good game, but they didn't get an early save when they needed it and lost.