Tonight’s loss to the Washington Capitals was a special kind of loss. It wasn’t the kind where the team goes out in a blaze of glory, spectacularly failing at every aspect of the sport of hockey in a game that is almost beautiful in its futility. Neither was it the kind of loss in which the team plays well but gets all the worst bounces and lets the two points narrowly slip out of its fingers. No, this game was just a stinker. The Sens were okay at some points, and bad at others. They got some unfavourable bounces. They’re probably not actually as bad as they looked tonight. But they looked bad. It was a game that always felt just within reach, like the Sens, being the Sens, might pull off a miracle comeback, but probably wouldn’t because they simply couldn’t be bothered tonight.
Can you tell that I’ve recapped a lot of losses this season?
The first period was not abjectly terrible from a Sens perspective, which, given the way they’ve been playing as of late, is practically deserving of a medal. The play looked mostly even, with both teams getting a few good looks at the net but neither one looking particularly dominant. Thomas Chabot got to play with Erik Karlsson, and Matt Duchene came very close to scoring a few times, but Washington drew first blood when Jakub Vrana took advantage of a defensive breakdown in the Ottawa zone.
There are a lot of things I miss about last year’s Senators, but I think not having to say the phrase “defensive breakdown” multiple times a game might top the list.
Ottawa countered with a couple of good chances from (who else?) Hoffman and Stone, but were unable to capitalize (get it?).
Just as the first period was winding down, former Senator Alex Chiasson sent a beautiful pass to Alex Ovechkin, who skated right around Cody Ceci for the game’s second goal. I won’t place all the blame for that goal on Ceci, because it’s hard to blame anyone for being turnstiled by Ovechkin, but I would still like to know the best way to fire a player into the sun, or possibly the pressbox, or possibly Edmonton.
Things were looking pretty grim, but the team was not completely without hope. That’s the way of the Ottawa Senators, you see. They rip away most of your hope, but leave a little tiny bit so that your disappointment can last the full 60 minutes.
Ottawa got a few decent looks at the net, with Ryan Dzingel getting a nice chance and the team actually maintaining offensive zone pressure for a change. Everything went wrong, however, when Alex Burrows went to the box, and Evgeny Kuznetsov scored on the ensuing powerplay. Remember when our penalty kill was actually effective? Good times.
The Capitals took a 4-0 lead with a bizarre goal that got stuck at the top of the Ottawa net (clearly its preferred location during this game) and it took a few seconds for anyone to realize that the Caps had actually scored.
Yes, we had not even reached the halfway point of the game and the Sens were already losing by four goals. I don’t blame you if you turned away at this point. Not many people were watching. I don’t think Bob Cole was watching, and he was doing the play-by-play.
And so for literally the third time this season, I found myself forlornly refreshing Twitter as I slowly came to the realization that all of my friends had turned off the TV, leaving me alone in my suffering as I shouldered the burden of describing this game to you, dear readers of Silver Seven.
I regret to inform you that the Sens did not manage to mount a comeback.
Shortly after the goal, Derick Brassard took a slash to the face and complained very loudly when his team was not awarded a five minute powerplay. I don’t know why he was angry. I thought the ref was doing him a favour. Why would a member of the Ottawa Senators want his team to get a powerplay?
Miraculously, the Sens actually did score a goal soon afterward, right as a Washington player was getting out of the box. Burrows sent the puck to Dzingel in front, and the winger continued his dominant start to the year with his sixth goal of the season. Chabot also got an assist on the play, which was great.
A tussle between a number of players on both teams resulted in a two man advantage for Ottawa. I don’t know what the Sens did to the refs to be subjected to treatment of this sort, but I don’t think they deserved this kind of humiliation. I did not ask for a two man advantage. I did not want a two man advantage. Please do not prolong this suffering. Why would the refs do this to us?
After two minutes of standing perfectly still and passing the puck around, like they were attempting one of those drills you do in Novice where nobody can skate and handle the puck at the same time so you just do one thing at a time, they managed to kill off the powerplay and it was back to even strength.
Ottawa began the third period down 4-1, and honestly, I know that score is pretty unstable when it comes to Ontario-based teams, but if you were still watching at this point, you might want to reevaluate your life choices. Were you procrastinating on doing something important? I know I was.
It was pretty clear they weren’t going to come back.
Mike Hoffman did shorten the lead, though, just after the halfway mark of the period after a nice chance from Mark Stone. Turns out, when you put Stone, Hoffman and Brassard together, good things happen. Who could have guessed? Not Guy Boucher, apparently.
Despite a few close calls, Ottawa did not cut the Washington lead in half. Chiasson put the nail in the Sens’ coffin with an empty netter in the dying minutes of the game, and our suffering was ended. Temporarily. Until Friday.
- Duchene looked good again and at this rate will probably become the best player to never record a single point with his current team.
- Chabot played over 15 minutes and looked very good. What do we have to do to keep him?
- Hoffman and Stone both had decent games, as usual.
- I love Guy Boucher, but his lineup decisions are starting to get very frustrating.