… I don’t understand either, okay?
I am beyond confused about hockey tonight. What is this feeling? How am I supposed to react to not one, but two hockey teams I cheer for scoring big goals and winning games and being happy and fun? For one night, the Sens and team Canada thawed my frozen heart and reminded me that this sport can cause emotions other than sadness, frustration and despair.
Those emotions being confusion, and happiness. A lot of both.
I don’t blame you if you didn’t watch tonight’s game between the Sharks and the Senators, or if you watched it on a split screen. There were much more interesting things to watch tonight. You could have watched Team Canada win its first gold medal at the World Juniors since Curtis Lazar was captain (lol), for instance.
Honestly, if you watched this game instead, I’m judging you. I’m even judging myself, and I had a good excuse. I know things turned out pretty well in the end, but you didn’t know that would happen when you turned on the game. So why did you watch? It’s not good for you. You know this.
Of course, the Ottawa Senators chose the moment when everyone gave up on them and stopped watching in favour of something more fulfilling to put together a miraculous comeback that will probably stand as one of their best games of the season.
Who could have possibly seen that coming?
Not me. I never expect the Sens to win these days.
Anyway, since most of you probably skipped this game for perfectly valid reasons, I hope you can live through that emotional rollercoaster of a game through my words. It was a good game. It deserves to be remembered as such.
The game began with an early Senators powerplay, which quickly took a turn for the worse when Ottawa got lazy in the offensive zone and Tomas Hertl outskated Cody Ceci for a shorthanded breakaway goal.
Oh yeah. Remember what I said about this game being a good one? I meant the third period. Just the third period.
The play was mostly even until the midway point of the period, when Ryan Dzingel scored an absolute beauty of a goal off an excellent feed from Mark Stone, who, of course, celebrated with his trademark enthusiasm. We absolutely do not deserve Mark Stone. His goal celebrations are pretty much the only part of Sens games that make me happy these days, along with Julia Robillard commercials.
San Jose started to push back almost immediately. Somehow, their shutdown defense pair ended up on a 2-on-1 and very nearly took the lead back. Even I have to admit that would have been incredibly funny.
You know what else would have been funny? If a rookie had scored his first NHL goal against the Sens, as all rookies do eventually. For a second, it looked like that had actually happened, as Sharks defenseman Joakim Ryan took a shot from the point that ended up in the back of the Ottawa net. It turns out the puck was tipped in, however, and the goal was awarded to Melker Karlsson.
Do I need to tell you which defense pairing was on the ice and did a terrible job of defending?
I don’t think I do.
The rest of the period was mostly uneventful, aside from a good scoring chance from Mark Stone. The Sens displayed no urgency in the face of a one-goal deficit. That should not come as a surprise to anyone who has watched them this season.
Equally unsurprising was the power play goal San Jose scored just two minutes into the second period, to double their lead and make the score 3-1. The Sens took another penalty shortly afterward, allowing Brent Burns to make the game 4-1 only 4 minutes into the second frame.
This game was as good as over.
The Sens did not look like they cared at all. They weren’t even pretending to care. It was utterly demoralizing.
Again, if you were still watching at this point, I’m judging you. Canada was playing a fantastic game. You need to sort out your priorities.
Mercifully, Mark Stone came to the rescue and breathed some life into the Senators team. The goal was a particularly interesting one because Guy Boucher was trying out this new strategy called “putting all your best players on the ice at the same time.” Strange concept, I know, but it seemed to work. Maybe it’s a good idea after all. But what do I know? I never played the game.
Thomas Chabot very nearly made things interesting with a nice scoring chance, and it seemed the Sens had regained at least a little bit of their will to live. Also, Canada scored. It was nice.
Unfortunately, Tomas Hertl dashed our hopes by scoring (of course) a wraparound goal against Craig Anderson. We haven’t seen one of those in awhile. I guess we were due.
Ottawa ended the period with an excellent rush and a few good scoring chances from Duchene and Chabot. The team actually looked… good?
But surely this wouldn’t last.
Surely this would end up being another blowout loss.
The comeback began less than 30 seconds into the third period when Derick Brassard scored off a feed from (who else?) the one and only Mark Stone. I’ll admit I was more shocked than excited.
I don’t know what happened during the intermission, but the Sens looked like a completely different team. They were rolling. Passes were connecting. Legs were moving. Shots were actually making it to the net. Thomas Chabot was playing with Erik Karlsson. The play was all Ottawa.
Surely this wouldn’t turn into an actual comeback though, right?
Eight minutes and twenty five seconds into the final frame, Matt Duchene of all people picked up a rebound and slipped it right past the Sharks’ netminder. It was officially a one-goal game.
With over eleven minutes left to go.
Now, I don’t care if you are #TeamTank of #TeamWeCanTotallyStillMakeThePlayoffs. We deserved this one thing. After a horrendous start to the season and an extremely demoralizing last couple of months, we, the fans, deserved to enjoy at least one fun game in this nightmare of a season. Two points is probably not going to make that big of a difference in the long run. I don’t even care that much if it does end up costing us a good draft pick. I needed this one good thing. It was worth it.
Mike Hoffman evened the score shortly afterward, and, miraculously, the game was actually tied. I had almost forgotten what it was like to enjoy hockey until that moment. I had almost forgotten why I loved this team. Thank you for reminding me, Sens. I do love this team. Very much. Sometimes. Occasionally. At least today.
Of course, the Sens responded to this incredible development in the game by sitting back and playing for the tie, because of course they did. This is the Ottawa Senators. Gotta secure that loser point, right?
They did secure the loser point, as the two teams ended regulation in a tie.
And then they got a second point, when Matt Duchene scored seven seconds into overtime, narrowly missing the overtime record set against the Sens only two days ago.
We needed that.
Also, at almost exactly the same time, Canada scored to take a late lead in the gold medal game at the World Juniors, with Sens prospect Drake Batherson getting an assist. Then Alex Formenton, the other Sens prospect, scored an empty net goal to secure the goal medal for Canada.
It was a good night to be a Sens fan.
- Cody Ceci was on the ice for all five goals against
- Matt Duchene had a hell of a game
- I love Mark Stone
- Ryan Dzingel looked great too
- So did Brassard
- And Hoffman
- Thomas Chabot was absolutely flying out there. More of him with Karlsson, please