Are you alive, Sens fans? Are you okay?
We can all take a deep breath now. Unclench our butts. Wipe the tears off our faces (don’t try to hide it: I know everyone cried once when MacArthur scored and then again after that awful second period). Turn off caps lock on our keyboards. Stop drunk tweeting all the Bruins fans we follow on Twitter.
It’s over. We won. It was only game two of the playoffs, but damn was that one amazing hockey game. It was an emotional rollercoaster, demonstrating the very best and worst of playoff hockey, but we made it through. With at least three more games to look forward to this postseason, there’s hope. And you know what? Even if the Sens don’t end up winning the series, the gifs that came out of it will stay with us forever.
Considering the excitement of the last few minutes of that game, I don’t think there are many of us who want to relive the first 40, so I’ll make this quick. The beginning of this game sucked.
After a very solid showing in game 1, the team looked particularly lifeless. The play was slow, sleepy and downright discouraging. Despite a few flashes of brilliance, the Sens mostly looked afraid of the Bruins. The first period ended without any goals and with the shots almost even, but it was clear that Ottawa would need to step up if they wanted to tie the series.
They also lost one of their defensemen, when Mark Borowiecki left the game with a particularly painful-looking lower body injury. Considering it was Boro, and in the playoffs, the fact that he actually stayed out of the game suggests that he probably needs it amputated or something. Nothing else would keep him out. I’m not the biggest Borowiecki fan, but I do hope he gets better soon. That looked bad.
Things got even worse in the second period, however. It felt like every time Phaneuf and Ceci stepped on the ice, the Sens got hemmed in their own zone as the Bruins fired shot after shot at poor Craig Anderson. Sure enough, this quickly turned into a goal for Boston, one of those goals after which your first thought is “yeah, I saw that coming a mile away.”
The play initially looked offside, and it seemed like Guy Boucher would win the Coach’s Challenge, but alas. The refs were unable to prove conclusively that the Bruins were offside, and the goal stood.
(If I’m being completely honest here, it’s a dumb rule and it really sucks that it’s being implemented in the playoffs, as nice as it would have been to have that goal overturned.)
And then the most wonderful thing happened.
Bobby Ryan found Clarke MacArthur in the slot, and the left winger fired home his first goal in two years to even the score.
I don’t care that the Bruins scored right after that. I don’t care that the Sens scored three more goals in that game, including one in overtime. That right there was one of the best goals in Senators history and a moment that I don’t think any of us are going to forget any time soon. Welcome back, Clarkey. We missed you so, so much.
Things went downhill after that. Boston capitalized on a horrific gaffe from Craig Anderson and Derick Brassard, and soon scored yet again to take a 3-1 lead heading into the third. There was little hope as the Sens still looked completely defeated. The power play wasn’t great. The penalty kill was downright awful. Nothing was working.
But this team has a funny way of turning things around right when you’ve finally lost faith in them.
The tide turned when Chris Wideman’s shot found its way past Tuukka Rask for the defenceman’s first career playoff goal. Down by only one and with plenty of time left to tie things, Ottawa definitely seemed to gain a lot of confidence. Only two minutes later, Mark Stone entered the Boston zone and sent the puck to Mike Hoffman, who gave it to Karlsson who then walked around the entire Boston team before feeding Brassard in the most beautiful offensive zone sequence I have seen in a long time. With plenty of time left in the game, the score was even at three.
And just like that, the Sens were back in shape. Neither team managed to score during regulation, despite a few close calls on both sides, and the game went into overtime.
For the record, playoff overtime is wonderful when you have no emotional investment in the game. But when your team is playing? It’s the absolute worst.
The Senators were all over the Bruins from the very start, opening the extra frame on the man advantage. Two early posts just about gave us all a heart attack, but it only took two minutes for Dion Phaneuf to complete the comeback with a blast from the point. Thanks, Toronto. Hope you’re enjoying Jared Cowen.
Look. I know the Sens didn’t play their best hockey in the first two periods. I know we all have plenty of reason to be concerned about the state of the team. I also know that the series is headed to Boston and it’s going to be very tough for the Sens to win on the road. But personally, this win restored my confidence in this team far more than a 1-0 regulation win would have.
Shameless self-plug here, but I Tweeted this at the beginning of the third period :
I miss the 2015 Sens. Despite its many flaws, that team at least had intensity and heart.— Beata (@CBeataE) April 15, 2017
Yes, this team is better than the 2015 Senators. But this year’s team has been missing the magic of the Hamburglar run. There haven’t really been any epic comebacks, or even particularly exciting games. They don’t look like they care that much. These last few weeks especially have been extremely worrying. There has been no intensity, no heart, no passion.
Even in game 1, when Ottawa pulled their goalie in the last minute, I didn’t believe they would score. This team isn’t like that. They don’t do heart-stopping, last-minute comebacks.
But this game proved that they haven’t lost that magic. They still care. They can still complete epic comebacks. They don’t roll over and die every time they start losing. They’re still the same ridiculously passionate, lovable team they were in 2015, only better. If they can keep that up, they might actually stand a chance in this series.
So welcome back, Pesky Sens.
We missed you.
Sens Hero: Clarke MacArthur
God, I love that guy.
Sens Hero: Erik Karlsson
I’m still worried about the Captain’s health, but he had a pretty great game tonight. That assist on the Brassard goal was particularly beautiful.
Honourable Mention: Dion Phaneuf
I’m hesitant to give him the nod because his pairing with Ceci is still a flaming pile of garbage, but that overtime goal was pretty amazing.